Renaultsport does a rather fine line in hot hatches. The outgoing R26R is amazing, the Clio 200 is brilliant, and we’re all fans of the tiny Twingo 133. And now there’s a new Renaultsport Twingo 133, the Cup.
But I can already spec a Cup chassis on the Renaultsport Twingo 133, so what’s new?
Pen and paper at the ready, because things gets a little complicated. You can already buy a regular little Renaultsport Twingo 133 for £12,495, but there’s also a Cup chassis option. For £650 it adds 10% stiffer springs and dampers, reduces the ride height by 4mm, and adds 17-inch wheels and tyres in lieu of the regular 16s.
It’s the same set-up Renaultsport has with the Clio, whereby you can spec a regular 200, and then opt for a Cup chassis to sharpen things up. But on the Clio 200 there’s also the option of a lightened (and cheaper) Clio Cup. And now the Twingo is following suit.
The new Twingo Cup keeps the Cup chassis settings, but in comes a regular rear bench in place of the sliding back seats, while out goes the air-con, auto lights and tinted rear windows.
And the result is…
The reduction in equipment cuts 10 kilos from the Twingo’s kerbweight, and you’ll shed a few pounds yourself on a hot summer’s day when there’s no air-con to cool you down.
But the benefit of going without air-con is that you’ll save yourself a few quid. The new Twingo Cup costs £11,795, which means it’s £700 cheaper than a basic Renaultsport Twingo, and £1300 less than a Cup-equipped car, even though it retains the latter’s chassis.
Shell out another £150 and you can have the white paint, plus gloss black door mirrors, spoiler and bumper trims of our test car, while another £175 nets you the mean-looking black wheels.
>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our Renaultsport Twingo 133 Cup first drive
Seems like a pretty good bargain. Can you notice the difference on the road?
Not really. The 1.6-litre petrol engine doesn’t gain any extra grunt, and nor does it feel more responsive thanks to the meagre weight loss programme. But our test car was nicely run in with 4k on the clock and felt much freer than a few low-mileage examples we’ve tried. It’s strongest above 4000rpm, and with the rubber bung removed from the airbox it sounds nice and rorty too. Plus the gearchange is sweet and can be rushed as fast as your left wrist can move.
You sit a little too high, and the steering wheel is plonked in your lap like you’re a truck driver, but turn-in is instant and the Twingo is lovely and darty, and the soft bucket seats grip you tightly. And as with all Renaultsports, the suspension is firm but well controlled so it can tackle back roads without it coming unstuck and bouncing you around.
But the Twingo retains all the downsides of the basic car. There’s only room for a five-speed ‘box so you’re going to be sitting at over 4000rpm on the motorway, and cursing the ride at the same time.
On the road you won’t notice the difference between a Twingo Cup and a regular Renaultsport Twingo equipped with a Cup chassis, but that means it’s still a brilliant, if compromised, little hot hatch.
Where you will notice the difference is under your armpits, which will be dripping with sweat on a hot summer’s day thanks to the lack of air-con. Luckily we don’t have too many of those in the UK, and you can spend some of your £1300 savings on extra deodorant.
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