Renault Twingo GT

Renault Twingo GT, front
Renault Twingo GT, front
Renault Twingo GT, front
Renault Twingo GT, front
Renault Twingo GT, side
Renault Twingo GT, rear
Renault Twingo GT, boot
Renault Twingo GT, rear
Renault Twingo GT, rear
Renault Twingo GT, interior

IT'S an age-old question - when you're after a little fun, does size really matter?

Now, I'm a big boy - 6ft 2in and, to put it politely, with plenty of girth around the middle - so, how much of a good time could I have with something just 3,595mm long and 1,660mm wide?

Almost typically, it's the fun-loving French who have come up with the answer - and the answer is beaucoup.

The GT adds a whole new dimension to the award-winning Twingo range, offering drivers a city car with added va va voom.

Developed by the magicians at Renault Sport, the GT builds on the Twingo's undoubted strengths - cool, nimble and agile. It's rear-engined, rear-wheel drive layout maximises interior space and it is incredibly easy to park, manoeuvre or complete a U-turn because the turning arc of the front wheels is not restricted by the engine.

The Twingo comes as standard as a five-door - the most popular body style with city car buyers - and its appeal has been heightened with a huge range of colour, trim and personalisation options - 90 to be exact.

Renault Sport also tweaked the Twingo's rear-engine design to deliver, fun, fun, fun.

Starting with the 898cc TCe engine - the most powerful in the Twingo range - the team has tuned it to produce 110bhp and 170Nm of torque - and that's a lot of torque in a car which weighs just a bag of sugar heavier than a tonne.

Covering 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds it's nippy rather than fast but thanks to that torque, pick-up is impressive.

The hot hatch experts also lowered the Twingo's ride height by 20mm, made the damping much stiffer and added new 17-inch alloys with bespoke Yokohama tyres.

They also added a nifty new air intake on the rear left-hand wing which harks back to previous motorsport-inspired models.

The experts also tweaked the Twingo's stability control system to improve traction during more vigorous driving.

They say it now allows a ‘very slight drift' when drivers hit the throttle on leaving a tight corner but, if it does, it's not at all noticeable.

That's not to say the agile Twingo GT isn't great fun to drive.

It's five-speed manual gearbox has also been tweaked to match the increased power and its handling is precise and enjoyable.

On a twisty road, it's a little gem and, with its eager engine and little body roll, you can throw it through corners at speed with confidence.

On the motorway it's extremely composed thanks to variable ratio power-assisted steering, there's enough power to keep up with the flow and it's surprisingly refined.

But, it's around town where the GT is at its best.

It's great for darting through traffic and its incredibly tight turning circle - half that of a London taxi - means it attacks mini roundabout with vigour and is insanely easy to park.

And, if you happen to be extremely bad at parking, rear sensors come as standard.

The only real downside is that, because of the stiffer suspension, bumps and potholes are felt all the more keenly.

Though designed to be a driver's car, Renault hasn't scrimped on kit.

The GT comes with Renault's R&GO application that turns a smartphone into a touchscreen including sa tnav, as well as cruise control, automatic climate control, automatic lights and front wipers, fogs lights with cornering function, extra tinted rear windows, part-leather upholstery and aluminium pedals.

There's also ABS, Emergency Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist.

Adding to its sporty looks is a body kit with side skirts, extended wheel arches and rear diffuser and bonnet and roof decals are available as an option.

FAST FACTS

Renault Twingo GT

Price: £13,755

Mechanical: 110bhp, 898cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 113mph

0-62mph:9.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 115g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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