Renault South Africa has introduced the spirited Twingo Gordini Renault Sport (RS) – a car that revives one of the most legendary names in motorsport.
Amédée Gordini was born in Bazzano near Bologna, Italy, in 1899. From an early age he had a strong fascination with cars and motor racing, and began living his dream by working as a mechanic in his teens. After World War I he settled in Paris and competed in various forms of motorsport, including grand prix racing and the legendary Le Mans 24-hour.
He later established the Gordini company that transformed production cars into racers, modified regular engines for competition in endurance and grand prix racing, and even built specialist racing cars under his own banner.
In 1956 Renault approached ‘The Sorcerer’, as he was commonly known, to develop its rear-engined Dauphine sedan into a competitive rally car. And the rest, as they say, is history. In 1964 the Renault 8 Gordini, with its bright blue paintwork and twin white stripes, was one of his most successful and iconic creations, finishing 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Tour of Corsica rally. In 1966, the 1300 cc version starred in the first Gordini Cup one-make race series, which would become the blueprint for all single-make motorsport championships.
Eventually the Gordini company was merged into Renault, and it became the foundation for Renault Sport Technologies – a division which has produced the impressive and prized Renault Sport (RS) versions of the Clio, Mégane and Twingo over the years.
It’s fitting, then, that Renault pays homage to Amédée Gordini and the legendary cars that proudly carried his name.
In true Gordini tradition, the Twingo Gordini RS features gleaming Malte Blue lacquered metallic paint. This classic hue is made all the more attention-grabbing with the addition of two white racing stripes extending from the bonnet, over the roof to the tailgate like a badge of honour.
The front and rear bumpers feature a gloss-black finish, while the foglamp surrounds, exterior mirror housings and lip spoiler are all coloured in a contrasting white for an even sportier appearance. An exclusive set of double-spoke 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels – up from the 16-inch versions on the Twingo RS) – are matched with lower profile 195/40 R17 tyres that assert this Twingo’s potential. ‘Gordini Series’ badging is also present just aft of the doors, which provides an appropriate salute to the heyday of the Gordini Cup one-make racing series.
The interior has also been given a dose of Gordini spirit, thanks to the redesigned Renault Sport seats with extra lateral support, plus two-tone blue-and-black quilted, and Gordini-badged, leather upholstery. Matching the seats are blue leather door panel inserts, and blue-and-black leather steering wheel with white stripes on top to indicate the centre point in true motorsport tradition. In addition, a blue gearlever, Gordini-badged gear knob, blue rev counter with white surround and a trimmed dashboard cowl with visible stitching, serve to honour the Gordini name. Optional features such as a panoramic opening sunroof, a carpet set embroidered with the distinctive Gordini motif, and a special Gordini key cover are also available.
Performance remains unchanged, with a 1,6-litre 16-valve fuel-injected engine delivering 98 kW at 6 750 r/min and 160 Nm at 4 400 r/min. CO2 emissions are 160 g/km, while combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 7,0 l/100 km. Renault promise greater handling prowess with the larger 17-inch diameter wheels are their lower 40-profile rubber.
Safety has been taken up a notch with the addition of curtain airbags as standard (over and above the driver, passenger and side airbags), while the driver-oriented focus of the car means the electronic stability programme (ESP) that can be fully disengaged if desired.
Despite the exclusive nature of the Twingo Gordini RS and higher specification levels, the Twingo Gordini RS commands just a R15 000 price premium, or 7.5 percent, over the standard RS model, at R214 900. The price also includes a 3-year/60 000 km service plan and Renault’s 5-year/150 000 km warranty.