New Renault Twingo

This is the all-new third generation Renault Twingo, which has been revealed ahead of its Geneva motor show debut early next month.

In a radical change from the usual modern city-car format, the French carmaker has announced that the new model will not only be rear-wheel drive, but also have the engine mounted over the rear axle as well.

The news is likely to prove appealing to driving enthusiasts, who should revel in the uncorrupted steering and agile dynamics that the layout brings.

While not yet officially confirmed, a performance version is rumoured to be in the pipeline and is likely to make an appearance shortly after the regular model reaches showrooms.

Those less concerned with a pulse-raising driving experience will enjoy the new car's tighter turning cycle – claimed to be nearly as tight as a London Taxi – and improved cabin space.

Currently there are no official engine details, but a fuel-efficient three-cylinder petrol engine is expected, mated to either a traditional manual or twin-clutch automatic gearbox.

Speaking to Autocar magazine, Renault chief designer Laurens van den Acker backed the change in the Twingo's layout: "Moving the action [drivetrain] to the back gives fantastic advantages," he said. "It increases interior space and wheelbase and shortens the overhangs."

The new Twingo is also some 10cm shorter than the outgoing model, which is relatively uncommon with new cars. Some of the luggage space has been lost with the rear-mounted engine, but Renault is confident that its rear-folding seat arrangement will provide enough space for most users' needs.

The car's front-end styling adopts Renault's current design theme, most notably the large, floating Renault emblem on the grille. The rear inspired by the Renault 5 hatchback, including the raked rear screen and prominent shoulder line.

Interior details have yet to be revealed, but the new Twingo will be available in a five-door body style for the first time in the model's history when it arrives in showrooms later this year.