The original Renault Twingo debuted at the Paris Salon in 1992, to a gasp induced audience. A super mini a foot shorter than a Clio, with two sliding rear seats but still more carrying capacity than a Renault 25, it was mostly a car notable for introducing stomach churning colour palettes to cars aimed at the young and vibrant. Original colours included mushy pea green, crazy yellow and bubble gum pink.

It was actually remarkable that the Renault Twingo ever saw the light of day back then, because its designer, Patrick Le Quement, reputedly had to persuade Renault powers to ignore a 25% dislike rating from its original, concept research group. Commercially, in the beginning anyway; Le Quement’s insistence seemed misplaced. Despite strict price control, the convention bending Twingo was not the popular hit many had hoped. However, over time, its non gender specific, playfully symbolic talents began to come through. Le Quement wanted the Twingo to be like a child’s toy box. When you look at it that way, one has to say he got it spot on.

A new Renault Twingo arrived a few years ago, looking far more conventional and like the 90’s model, it was far from a sales success story. It somehow fed the strange contradiction of youthful products that only appeal to the middle aged. To remedy this (or perhaps run with it) the Renault Sport bods got hold of one, put some fat tyres on it and dropped a 1.6-litre 16V, 98kW & 160Nm motor down its nose. Now as a further encore, with the RS Gordini, they’ve made it even lower and wider and touched it up with all the styling trinkets deserving of said children’s toy box.

Result: I don’t think it just looks brilliant for a Twingo, or a super mini. I think it looks brilliant for a car – full stop. And it’s none gender specificity still holds water; both guys and girls hold more than a cursory glance in its direction. If you want one of the limited edition Gordini’s you better like blue because the Gordini only comes in blue, and extra bits include wider arches to contain the wider suspension and 17” polished rims, two white stripes, a white spoiler, white details on the front bumper, a sun roof, and a Gordini gear knob.

Performance wise, obviously, it’s not the last car that a sporty driver will ever yearn for. 0-100kph in 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 201kph is strictly middle rung stuff and R215, 500 is pretty pricey for a Twingo, no matter how cool it looks. But the driving feel, the direct feedback and the playful response the Gordini delivers makes a compelling case for itself no matter how limited the appeal. On a track it’s simply awesome. If ever there was a beginner’s race series, or stunt driving training camp of some sort, to teach the bare basics of performance driving, the Twingo RS would have to feature as the company car. And if it’s that good on track you can imagine how epic it is when you put it on the road and show it a populated city environment. I doubt very much can keep up as long as the goings tight.

What I love most of all about the Renault Twingo RS Gordini is what a big smile it puts on your face. Lightness, good grip and focused engineering make it a riot to drive at any road speeds. You don’t need to risk losing your license for it to deliver sporty thrills

Fast Facts

Renault Twingo RS Gordini

R215, 500

1.6-litre 16V

98kW & 160Nm

8.7 sec (0-100kph) & 201kph (top speed)

7.0-litre per 100km (economy)

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