Renault Twingo

Published: 28 September 2006

Renault Twingo: the lowdown

This is Renault’s all-new Twingo city car, due in the UK in September 2007. We never got the Mk1, but Renault has this time engineered the Twingo for right-hand drive. And that’s a good job too, with a Renaultsport version – packing as much as 150bhp – in the pipeline. The pumped up hot hatch you see here is officially a concept, hinting at the RS version with those mighty wheelarches and aero bodykit. The original Twingo concept was a spacious but utilitarian car, but the new car is a radical departure with its more premium feel designed to attract younger, more style conscious buyers. Unveiling the concept at the Paris Motor Show today (Thursday 28), Renault boss Carlos Ghosn described the car as ’90 percent true to the volume production car’.

Design and underpinnings

At only 3.6m-long, with truncated overhangs and a 17in wheel in each corner, 2007’s Twingo resembles an even more compact Citroen C2. It’s sleek, aggressively chunky and very neatly resolved, and promises to appeal to both fashion-conscious males and females. The Twingo is underpinned by a bitsa platform, combining bits of the old Clio, new Clio and fresh components. Mounted in the nose is a new, turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol which produces 100bhp, 111lb ft of torque and under 140g/km CO2. ‘It has the fuel economy of a 1.2-litre engine, but the power of a 1.4-litre and the torque of a 1.6-litre,’ claimed Ghosn. This engine makes its debut in the Clio next year, before appearing in the Twingo. That’s great news for those uninspired by Toyota Aygo clan’s performance figures, and for those craving both fun and a tax break. Joining the 1.2-litre turbo is an even more insurance-friendly unit: a 75bhp 1.2-litre petrol. A diesel is also planned, but this is not guaranteed for the UK.

The inside story

Well, it’s a funky city vehicle aimed at the iPod generation and very tight parking spaces. The dash features a USB port, enabling connectivity for a number of multi-media devices, and is dominated by a ridiculously large TV screen. There’s even a mixing desk along with webcam functions. ‘People can bring their own individual environments into the car,’ said Ghosn. The interior lighting also changes from a relaxed blue with the engine off, to a sportier yellow with it on. In common with last year’s RenaultSport Clio concept, however, the interior features four space-age bucket seats, so it’s safe to say these elements will be a large chunk of the 10 percent that won’t make the showroom.

And a Renaultsport Twingo…

As the sporty concept looks suggest, Renaultsport is actively considering a junior Clio 197. The GT version will run the 100bhp 1.2-litre turbo, so expect the Twingo RS to deliver closer to 150bhp. Product boss Patrick Pelata told CAR Online that the Twingo is shaping up nicely dynamically, with great steering and agility. He added that any RS version would feel closer to the Clio than its bigger, number brother, the Megane RS.

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator