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    2017 Renault Twingo GT. Rear-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, more power, and input from Renault Sport… The hottest Twingo ought to be a blast.

    There are certain things I could tell you about the Twingo GT that would probably make it sound quite intriguing. It is rear-engined and rear-wheel-drive for one thing, and for another it has been given a good seeingto by the hot-hatch wizards at Renault Sport. But I wouldn’t want to mislead you because, as it turns out, the Twingo GT is much more interesting in concept than it is in reality.

    The little Twingo shares its underpinnings with the Smart ForFour. That unusual mechanical layout is not some laudable attempt to channel the spirit of the Porsche 911 into a city car, unfortunately, but instead it’s a clever way of reducing the car’s turning circle (with no engine between the front wheels, they can reach much greater steering angles). Hardly the stuff of a petrolhead’s dreams.

    With only 109bhp, the Twingo GT is one of the least powerful cars to carry the Renault Sport badge in the division’s 40-year history, although with just 1001kg to lug around, that needn’t be a deal-breaker. Power from the 898cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine has been increased from 89bhp in the standard model thanks to revised enginemapping and a GT-specific air-vent over the left rear wheel, which feeds cooler air to the intake. With a five-speed manual gearbox, the Twingo GT springs itself to 62mph in 9.6 seconds and tops out at 113mph.

    Renault Sport has tweaked the Twingo’s chassis, too, with springs and dampers that are 40 per cent stiffer, a ride height that’s been lowered by 20mm and a thicker front anti-roll bar. The steering, meanwhile, has been revised to give more direct response and the stability control now cuts in a little later – although it can’t be turned off completely – in a bid to make the GT more fun to drive.

    The Renault Sport-fettled model also gets 17-inch wheels, twin exhaust pipes and unique graphics. it looks quite cool in a tough-but-cute kind of way and with decent build quality and a good level of standard kit – partleather upholstery, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control – the cabin is pretty good, too. With much stiffer chassis settings than the base model, the GT does have a firmer ride quality, but not to the point of ruin. What’s more of an issue is the variable-ratio steering, which is so vague and rubbery, despite Renault Sport’s tuning efforts, that you wonder if there’s a small component in there somewhere that’s made of half-chewed liquorice.

    You could live with the dull steering if the car were entertaining to drive. Although it’s small and light enough to have an inherent agility and the bespoke Yokohama tyres do offer good grip, the Twingo GT just doesn’t have the poise or balance of Renault Sport’s best small cars. The chassis has been tuned to be very safe at the limit to mitigate the pendulous effects of the rear-engined layout, too, and although the stability control system has been revised for the GT, it still intervenes very early. In fact, it’ll nibble away at the brakes and cut engine torque if you merely turn into a corner with any sort of enthusiasm, which means you could drive the car for mile after mile and never be aware that the power is being sent to the rear wheels.

    The Twingo GT can be quite amusing to drive in the same way that any small, low-powered city car can be fun on the open road – maintain momentum and never brake – but it’s a shame Renault Sport hasn’t injected some genuine sporting ability and dynamism into its chassis.

    Similarly, the engine labours through its rev-range rather than zipping to the red line, and with no rev counter the only way to be sure you’re using all of the revs – absolutely critical in a small car such as this, of course – is to let it butt into the limiter. At least it has enough straight-line performance to nip its way through urban traffic. Throttle response is much improved over the standard Twingo and the gearshift is quite slick and precise, too.

    Ultimately, though, the car’s billing as a GT model rather than a full Renault Sport product tells us everything we need to know. This is not a successor to the hugely entertaining and very capable Twingo 133 of 2008-2013, but instead it’s a slightly quicker, funky-looking alternative to the basic Twingo. Judged that way, the GT is quite an appealing little city runabout.

    We’ll never see a full Renault Sport version, sadly, because the rear-engined layout means there’s no room for a bigger engine and there isn’t any more power to be squeezed from this three-cylinder unit. The third-generation Twingo, it seems, will never fulfil the promise of its unusual mechanical layout.

    Above and left: ideal for the cut and thrust of city driving, the GT is less well suited to the open road; it’s still fun to be around, though, with neat detailing and plenty of toys.

    ‘The steering is so vague you wonder if there’s a component made of half-chewed liquorice’

    Technical Data Specification #2017-Renault-Twingo-GT / #Renault-Twingo-GT / #Renault-Twingo / #Renault / #2017 /
    Engine In-line 3-cyl, 898cc, turbo
    CO2 115g/km
    Power 109bhp @ 5750rpm
    Torque 125lb ft @ 2000rpm
    0-62mph 9.6sec (claimed)
    Top speed 113mph (claimed)
    Weight 1001kg (111bhp/ton)
    Basic price UK £13,755

    + Funky styling, nippy performance
    - Much less fun than a rear-engined Renault Sport-fettled car should be

    Rating 3.0
    • The Twingo's a bit of an oddity and all the better for that, a rear engined RWD city car is certainly a refreshing change from it's FWD rivals. ReallyThe Twingo's a bit of an oddity and all the better for that, a rear engined RWD city car is certainly a refreshing change from it's FWD rivals. Really the Twingo and Smart For Four are in a league of their own and the Twingo GT makes the Smart For Four seem ridiculously overpriced. It's light pretty nippy lot's of room inside and has a lot going for it, Renault Sport reckon there isn't going to be a full fat sport version of the Twingo, but who knows? and until that happens the Twingo GT is a rather compelling solution to the hot city car.  More ...
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    / #2017 / No go for #Renault-Clio-RS16 / #Renault-Clio / #Renault /

    Renault has confirmed that its Mégane Trophy-engined, 271bhp Clio RS16 concept will remain just that, and will not be put into production, limited or otherwise.

    ‘Due to the complexity of the Clio RS16 we would have had to utilise the expertise of the Alpine plant in Dieppe, where it is possible to make very low volume, hand-built cars,’ said a Renault Sport spokesman. ‘In the past this has included the Clio V6, Spider and, currently, a number of competition cars such as the Clio Cup and Formula Renault single-seaters.

    ‘The plant is currently gearing up for production of the Alpine Vision sports coupe. Because of this, the decision was taken not to divert attention from this new project to build a limited run of Clio RS16s. There was an option of delaying the RS16 until after Alpine production had started, but this would have delayed [the Clio’s] introduction until the first half of 2018 and this would have been too long for customers to have waited for the car.’
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    STYLISH SEVEN-SEAT SCENIC SHOWN / #2017 / #Renault-Scenic / #Renault / #Renault-Grand-Scenic /

    We saw the five-seat edition of Renault’s new Scenic at the Geneva motor show in March, and now it’s time for the wraps to come off the longer seven-seat version. Larger in virtually every direction compared to its predecessor, it adopts edgier styling, including 20-inch wheels on all versions, to make it stand out in the multi-purpose vehicle market. A twotone livery is available, with a black or grey roof that is co-ordinated with the door mirrors and windscreen pillars.

    The new Scenic shares a platform with the latest Megane and Kadjar, which also underpins Nissan’s Qashqai. The wheelbase is 35 millimetres longer than before at 2,804 millimetres, while overall length has grown by 75 millimetres, to 4,634 millimetres. This makes it larger than the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, Ford Grand C-MAX and Peugeot 5008, but marginally shorter than the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer. Carrying capacity has grown compared to before, with 63 litres of extra boot space with five seats in place, measured up to the sliding cover. Figures for alternative capacities are yet to be revealed by Renault.

    In addition to a selection of 1.5- and 1.6-litre dCi engines in 109, 129 and 158bhp guises, the Grand Scenic is set to be offered with the #dCi 110 Hybrid Assist unit, which features a 48-volt battery and electric generator, harnessing energy when slowing down and utilising it to assist the engine at other times. In addition to improving the fuel economy, it allows the MPV to deliver more responsive performance. While most of the powerplants come with a six-speed manual transmission, the 109bhp 1.5-litre dCi unit is offered with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, while the flagship 158bhp 1.6-litre engine is paired exclusively to a six-speed twinclutch automatic gearbox.

    Like its five-seat companion, the new Grand Scenic will come fitted with 20-inch wheels as standard on all versions, with a narrow width of 195 millimetres and a sidewall height of 107 millimetres, it is comparable to that of a 17-inch wheel on the car’s predecessor. Renault is claiming that this innovative solution will equip the car with best-in-class ride quality. As well as having comfort benefits, the choice of wheels have been developed to reduce weight and have positive effects on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, featuring class-leading rolling resistance for lower energy consumption.

    The design of the seats are similar to the flagship Espace, which we don’t get in the UK, with a one-touch folding mechanism that allows the rear chairs to fold automatically to create a flat loading space, all at the touch of a button on the R-Link infotainment screen, or located in the boot. Each of the seats in the middle row have the ability to slide and fold down in a 60/40 fashion. A sliding centre console between the two front seats has evolved in the latest incarnation, to provide 13 litres of storage capacity, as well as a range of different USB sockets and power supplies to satisfy the demands of a modern family. Also dotted around the cabin are storage areas adding up to 38.5 litres, including four underfloor compartments that have been popular in previous incarnations of the Scenic and Grand Scenic On plusher versions, a large 8.7- inch touchscreen sits prominently on the centre console, mounted in a portrait arrangement. The R-Link 2 system features pinch and zoom, much like a smartphone, and incorporates voice recognition for the navigation system, phone and radio. Apps can be downloaded and each Grand Scenic comes with a free 12-month subscription to TomTom Traffic. A multi-sense button on the touchscreen allows drivers to alter the responsiveness of the engine, gearbox and steering on automatic editions, as well as offering a selection of different coloured mood lighting. A full-colour head-up display is offered for the first time, and there’s the option of 13 Bose premium speakers dotted around the cabin. Other cutting edge equipment includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a lane keeping assistant, driver drowsiness detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and an automated parking system.

    The Grand Scenic will arrive in UK showrooms towards the end of the year, alongside the five-seat Scenic previously announced. If the model line-up follows a similar path to other models in the Renault range, we can expect to see the trim levels named as Dynamique and Dynamique S, with flagship Signature editions. It’s too early to predict prices, which will be announced shortly before the new car arrives in #Renault showrooms.
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