Twingo Renault Sport 133 Cup

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Price: £11,550
Top speed: 125 mph 0-60mph 8.7 seconds
Consumption: 40.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 140g/km
Best for: Hot-hatch honeyz
Also worth considering? Fiat 500 Barth; Suzuki Swift Sport; Citroën C2 VTR

"I've got boobs, you know." Thus spake my front seat passenger as the Twingo crested another speedbump. She – I should make clear that it was a she, perhaps – made me only too conscious of the extreme effect that the "Cup" (no pun intended) chassis, as fitted to the sporty version of the Twingo, can have on even a well-supported bust. This is important. Somewhere along the line the manufacturers, or most of them, decided that, in order for a car to be taken seriously as a performance machine it had to be endowed with unforgiving, uncomfortable suspension.

In fact there is a reverse, perverse psychology abroad that says that if a car is lowered and rides on big alloys and has granite suspension then it must, ipso facto, be sporty and cool. Wrong, wrong, wrong, as every modded Saxo and Civic proves. Such an arrangement might, in truth, suit a hardcore roadster such as a Caterham, but in a warmed-over city car such as the Twingo – well, it just spoils the fun. Mercifully the Cup set-up is an option on the Twingo, so you can take it or leave it. Leave it, I say – you won't lose anything on the corners, and there'll be fewer bruised boobs.

In most respects, though, the Twingo is redolent of a very traditional sort of small French hot hatch. For here we have a product that is generally a bit old school French, though it's nowhere near as cute as the original Twingo, the one Renault refused to import here. This Twingo is based on the previous generation Clio, which is no bad thing. It is very buzzy at motorway speeds, almost up there with the Citroën 2CV. It seems just a little fragile too, maybe like the Citroën Visa GTI, if anyone remembers that one.

It has the same kind of slightly awkward door catches that early Renault 5s had; and it has a normally aspirated (no turbo) 1.6-litre engine, just like the original, and best, Peugeot 205 GTI. Like all of those, it's a very lovable, chuckable piece of kit, with just enough room in the boot for a holdall. For those who have a nostalgic yearning for an 1980s-style hot hatch – red seat belts and all – there is nothing to beat a Twingo Renaultsport with a few Wispa bars in the glove box and Now That's What I Call Music 2 in the stereo. Best of all is the jolly red plastic fob for the key. They didn't have those in the 1980s, but they should have had.

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