Renaultsport Twingo Gordini First Drive
Plenty of cars come into the Autoblog UK office for testing, and many of them affect or inspire us in different ways, but not many of them have us going as far as checking used prices out of personal interest.
The Renaultsport Twingo is an unashamedly budget arrangement, with the interior plastics betraying the cheap origins of the pepped-up city car and this low-cost approach made us think it might even be within our meagre price range.
But within a few minutes behind the wheel it becomes easy to ignore the cheap dash and basic stereo and focus on the wonderfully sharp and involving drive the Twingo offers. The Cup chassis package widens the track and stiffens the suspension in comparison to the standard car, making the Renaultsport version feel fantastically planted and eager to hustle through corners.
Naturally this stiffening of suspension means that the Twingo is not really what it originally set out to be – a city car. The ride is too firm to tackle speed bumps on a daily commute and is much more suited to rural B roads, where you get to appreciate the occasional bark and growl of the keen little 131bhp 1.6-litre engine.
So far, the Gordini is no different to the normal Renaultsport Twingos we found on our tentative trawls through Auto Trader. The extra treats are largely visual, with a special blue paintjob accompanying a series of leather additions to the interior and a glorious set of blue-tinged alloy wheels.
The extras certainly improve the looks of the Twingo, but they feel a little over indulgent. The main joy of the sporty Twingo is the way it goes, and you put up with a cheap feel to the interior as a result, so paying a couple of thousand pounds more seems a bit much for the Gordini's tinsel. Perhaps if there had been a smaller, sportier steering wheel and a more hugging set of sports seats on offer then the package would be worth more consideration.
In the meantime, we would stick with a standard Renaultsport Twingo with the Cup chassis and do without the admittedly gorgeous paintjob.
And that used-car search? Well the Renaultsport Twingo is still a little new for prices to have come below the £10,000 mark, but give it a couple of years and this could be the used bargain that every young car journo is scrabbling to get their hands on.