Spicy New Renault Hatchback Sadly Won’t Come to the USA
Of late, America has been in a lucky spell when it comes to hot, hot hatchbacks. The all-new 350 horsepower Ford Focus RS is almost upon us and the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R will finally be unleashed on US shores, potentially even late next year. This spicy five-door sadly won’t however, and that’s a shame, because it looks excellent. Meet the teeny, tiny 2016 Renault Twingo GT. Befitting its French brand name—the brand has been absent from the US market since 1987—the Twingo GT and all of its Renault siblings won’t be arriving in the US anytime soon. Nevertheless, here are a few reason why we’d wish it would. RELATED: 10 Cars You Forgot Had a Manual Transmission
Seven words. Rear engine, rear drive, manual, turbocharged hatchback. What isn’t there to love?
Over the decades, Renault has perfected the butt-powered hot hatchback with the storied R5 Turbo and ballistic Clio V6, so the teensy Twingo GT has some serious living up to do. Crucially, it comes prepared. Tucked in the rear, the turbocharged 0.9-liter three-cylinder engine summons up 110 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque. Renault is currently mum on further performance specifications, but it’s safe to say zero to 60 mph will be much quicker than the standard car, which makes the leap in around 14 seconds, and more than the base 90 hp turbocharged version, which clocks it a hair under 11 seconds.
Of course, it’s not a straight-line screamer, but that’s where its lithe rear engine, rear-wheel drive chassis comes in. Renault says the Twingo GT adopts an uprated (and lowered) suspension with new electronic stability control tuning and variable-rate steering, keen on taming corners and flicking around with ease. Given its diminutive size, that sounds like a blast, especially considering the presence of a manual gearbox.
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Outside, the Renault Twingo GT gets dressed up with racy 17-inch wheels, twin exhaust, and some go-fast body striping, while inside the hatchback differentiates itself with heady orange trim, door sills proclaiming its Renault Sport origins, along with aluminum pedals and an alloy gear knob.
Interestingly enough, the Twingo shares its chassis with the also not-for-America Smart Forfour city car, a vehicle which would likely sell better on these shores than its two-door cousin. Neither is to be, however, so if you’re planning to take a spin in one… you’ll have to hitch a ride across the Atlantic. The hot hatch makes its official debut later this month at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK.
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