FirstDrive: Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133 Cup – Driving / NVH

Practicality / Spec
Engine / Performance
Driving / NVH

Being on the track is an unfair representation of what it’s like on the road as a daily, but this car really does handle. Even though the Twingo is using the previous gen Clio platform, it hasn’t managed to carry over the same blend of ride/handling as you used to get with the 172’s/182’s. This is much more uncouth.

The suspension feels well tuned, but even on the smooth surface the ride felt pretty stiff. You get the idea that with a small car like this, the suspension’s not got much in the way of travel and the almost square bodyshell will take a bit of a battering.  The Cup chassis sits 14mm lower than a standard Twingo (an extra 4mm over the standard, non-Cup chassis), on stiffer springs and on those bigger wheels. No, the bodykit obviously doesn’t do anything but I’m glad Renaultsport went to the length of widening the track.

The compromise though is that this car darts around with a great level of agility. The sum of all those parts means that this fairly light car at 1120kg is a riot. It’s also quite refreshing that you can still have this level of fun without anything fancy or trick underneath; It is a bit old-skool. There’s no Sport button here, it just lives in ‘Kid in a sweet shop’ mode.

Cup suspension is firm but there's no body roll.
Cup suspension is firm but there’s no body roll**

Having the guy from Renault riding shotgun, I didn’t really want to be taking the car right up and beyond its limits in case I had to hitchhike back in that diesel megane estate. But at 7/10ths the car simply clings on to whatever you ask for; there’s great traction, there’s no body roll, and you just grip and turn. The steering is pretty positive and not nerve-racking, and there’s no hint of understeer or oversteer.

Is there even ESP on this car?   I couldn’t find the sodding button anyway, but it never felt like it needed it (now watch me bin it on the road).

It’s almost as if you need to be doing silly speeds to get it to misbehave, but hopefully not in the style of the old Clio V6!

The main weakness in this package can be found in the gear change. It’s not great, and especially with an engine where you need to make full use of the gears to keep up the pace, its just a bit slow and long in throw. The action bothers you more than the absence of a 6th gear altogether; in a car this small I dont expect 6th anyway but this might be the main give-away of where the budget ended.

Gearbox doesn’t work with the driving style required to get the best out of the Twingo.

The guy at Renault was complimenting the engine noise and he was mostly right – it does sound quite rough and ready, and it does sound quite throaty when you’re caning it and in the mood. It avoids sounding strained and lethargic, but just more ‘angry’ rather than ‘pure evil’.    Perhaps I was making the mistake of reminiscing too much of my mates Clio 182;  the hissing induction noise from that car was missing and it only sounds mildly exciting after getting up into the power band. You could argue that might work in favour of motorway cruising but I’ll have to find out another day!

There’s not so much exhaust noise as such, you might get a better soundtrack from the Abarth 500.

Spec: Twingo Renaultsport 133 Cup'10 
Engine: 1.6 4cyl Petrol, 133bhp (@ 6750rpm), 118lb ft (@ 4400rpm)
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Mpg: Official: 43.5mpg
Performance: 0-62mph: 8.7 Secs, 125mph
Colour: White

**Picture sourced from this gallery in CAR magazine**

5 thoughts on “FirstDrive: Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133 Cup – Driving / NVH

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