I AM not sure I would ever have liked a car like the Twingo Cup, even when I was but a twingo of a lad.
I'd certainly never want it in ice cap white with panda blotches of black – an "i.d." pack that adds 153.26 to the price of the car tested. Confusingly, this was on top of the 403.59 charged for its metallic paint finish. Some mistake? That's what the specification sheet said.
The gloss black 17in wheels in place of the regular 17in anthracite grey alloys added 178.80 and the demo car from Renault also had rear parking sensors at 255.43.
I know. The Twingo is almost too short to need parking sensors, but I think the Renault garage wants to protect its cars from parking scrapes by Her Majesty's Press.
This is the problem. So many cars offered for assessment by the makers are kitted out with all the tricks. We get accustomed to parking by buzzer. Some of us haven't used a window winder in years. The young sprats may indeed never come across a cranked winder arm found on the bottom rung of bottom-rung cars.
I did not enjoy the Twingo all that much in the country hills, where its positive but firm handling was uncomfortable and joggly. It is not, I realised, a car for uninvolved and relaxed A to B journeys. It is a jolly hot hatch and we both had a good time when I pushed the motor towards 7,000rpm, charged it into bends and came out the other side pointing where I wanted to be pointing with a fair amount of power applied.
Twingo is Renault's smallest car. It is a three-door, carrying on the name of the more delightful original Twingo from last century (which Renault never made in right-hand drive).
The 133 Cup is the hottest of the Twingos. It has a 1.6 petrol motor producing 133ps (131bhp) and 118lb ft of torque. The latter is not a lot, and that's a reason why you need to get into the top half of the revs band to get it jumping. Top speed is a claimed 125mph and 0-62mph is possible in 8.7 seconds, a respectable figure, enhanced by the ability to hold on to speed through bends.
At the time I was hustling the Twingo, Renault announced a Gordini version with the 133ps motor, available from June in the famous blue livery with offset white stripes, and clearly the way to go up and down your local high street for maximum attention. Britain gets an allocation of 200, and the price rises to 14,500.
Twingo Gordini 133 has climate control, automatic headlight and wiper activation, cruise control, speed limiter, stability control, 4x20W radio-CD with steering wheel-mounted remote control and separate display, Bluetooth connectivity, multifunctional TunePoint for personal music players (iPod, MP3) and extra-tinted rear windows.
Customers can personalise their Gordini 133 with Pearl Black paint instead of Malta Blue, the Cup chassis (lower ride height, stiffer springs and dampers), Gordini wheels with a blue inner rim, curtain airbags and a panoramic sunroof. Amde Gordini tuned some 200,000 Renaults in the post-war years and I am not sure he would approve of any colour other than bright blue. The Renault 8 Gordini with its vivid blue and white was one of his most successful creations, finishing 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the 1964 Tour of Corsica rally.
On the road
It is: Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133. Hot version of the three-door hatchback range, just revised for the year with lower emissions and a price point of 7,695 for the 60ps 1.2 Expression. 133 models start at 12,100 and now have a 160g/km CO2 tariff and 41.5mpg.
Automatic gears: No.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east