Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


Driven: Renault Twingo GT. Image by Renault.

Driven: Renault Twingo GT
Looks great. Promises so much. Doesn’t quite deliver, though…


<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Renault reviews

Renault Twingo GT

3 3 3 3 3

Good points: Achingly cool retro charm, nimbleness, three-cylinder soundtrack, little like it on the market

Not so good: Its combination of mid-engine, rear-drive and a good power-to-weight ratio somehow never quite adds up to genuine driving fun

Key Facts

Model tested: Renault Twingo GT
Price: Twingo range starts from £9,995; Twingo GT from £14,085, car as tested £15,530
Engine: 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door city car
CO2 emissions: 115g/km (£160 VED first 12 months, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 54.3mpg
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Power: 110hp at 5,750rpm
Torque: 170Nm at 2,000rpm

Our view:

Oh, Renault. What is this all about? The Renault Twingo GT is probably one of the most exciting cars you can get below £20,000, maybe even £30,000... at least, on paper. But, like the regular Twingo, the technical promise of the city car's rear-engine, rear-drive layout just never develops into genuine reward.

The problem with the GT is that the expectation it sets makes the disappointment of its actual dynamics all the harder to swallow, because in the 71- or 90hp models lower down the Twingo tree, you at least can accept that they're not designed to be rip-roaring mini-911s and so their slightly benign characters are therefore understandable. But this is a Twingo GT! A GT, for goodness' sake! Aaugh!

Truth be told, we're not sure how transformative we thought an additional 20hp and 35Nm would be for the 0.9-litre engine, but do you know what? It's the Renault Sport logos all around this car that go such a long way to building you up before knocking you down. Again, Renault was quite clear ahead of the GT's launch - this is NOT a full RS model, instead being a halfway-house performance version that has merely been worked upon by the geniuses at Dieppe, in and around their more serious projects.

But, even so... 110hp. Rear-mounted, driving the correct wheels. The whole lot powering just 1,001kg of metal. Stiffer shocks. Thicker anti-roll bars. A suspension drop of 20mm. Wheels of 17 inches in diameter with sports rubber. An interior jazzed up with various sporty details, like contrast stitching, white-edged sports seats and a diddy, flat-bottomed steering wheel. And, oh! Those exterior looks! Has a compact car ever looked more appealing than a Twingo GT in Blaze Orange with the black decals? We think not.

So you're all keyed up to drive the thing before you've even slid into the cabin and fired up the little 898cc triple. And by no means is the Twingo GT bad. The rorty turbocharged motor feels extremely punchy in this tiny shell, so you won't lament the performance. Indeed, at city speeds, the Twingo GT feels nigh-on unbeatable in quick squirts away from traffic lights, so rapaciously eager is it to step off the line.

There are more good points. The steering is pleasant, if not riddled with feedback. The five-speed 'box is nice to use and well-geared for the engine's efforts. The ride-to-handling balance is absolutely fine. And the overall refinement of the car is pretty impressive, if not class-leading. It's all more than likeable and if you drove one in isolation on a test drive at your local Renault dealer, you'd probably sign on the dotted line to buy one within a few minutes of getting back to the showroom.

Yet, if you were expecting this Twingo GT to be some sort of epiphany of micro-car performance, it's going to leave you feeling a little down in the dumps. It just never transcends to a level of driving enjoyment that'll have you grinning from ear to ear. It's competent and quick and audibly brilliant, but it's not... fizzy. Thrilling. A plain, laugh-out-loud hoot. Even worse, Renault had this entire field to itself, because until the Volkswagen up! GTI landed - there weren't any other even moderately warmed-up city cars like this, save for the mechanically identical and similarly lacklustre Smart Forfour Brabus.

It's such a weird thing, the Renault Twingo GT. It looks wonderful. Is well priced. Goes well. But we'll sign off with the fine moment in Hot Shots, of all things, when Charlie Sheen is reading Great Expectations. "Is it any good?" another character asks Topper Harley. "It's not all I hoped for," he replies, distantly. Kind of how we feel about the Twingo GT, that.


Kia Picanto GT-Line S: Doesn't really have the engine to match its superb looks, but the Korean hatch remains well worth checking out, and a great steer despite its power deficit to the Twingo GT.

Smart Forfour Brabus: The same car as the Twingo GT, only much less appealing to look at and quite a bit more expensive, to boot.

Volkswagen Up! GTI: It's the benchmark small performance car, as it delivers the same thrills as a Golf GTI in a compact package.

Matt Robinson - 1 Sep 2017    - Renault road tests
- Renault news
- Twingo images

2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.

2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.2017 Renault Twingo GT drive. Image by Renault.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©