When I heard that the Gordini badge was being resurrected by Renault I was full of excitement. Gordini made racing versions of Renault cars back in the 50’s and 60’s and I had visions of stripped down, tuned up versions of the Renaultsport range, a series of cars that would appeal to hardcore hot hatch fans and the track day crowd. So it was a bit of an anti-climax when it became apparent that the Gordini range will be nothing more than a branding exercise.
First up in the range is the Renault Twingo Gordini, painted in a special shade of Malta Blue metallic or black pearlescent paint complete with a pair of traditional white racing stripes. The front and rear bumpers have gloss black centre sections, while the fog lamp surrounds, door mirror housings and rear spoiler have are painted in white. The ‘Gordini Series’ look is finished off with a set of 17-inch alloy wheels with a polished face and a choice of the inner rim finished in either blue or black.
Underneath that fetching paint job lies a standard Renaultsport Twingo 133. It may be disappointing that there are no engine or suspension upgrades in the Gordini, but it’s also worth remembering that the standard Renaultsport Twingo is one of the best junior hot hatches on the market. The good news is that the Gordini Twingo can be ordered with the excellent Cup chassis, so at least the handling prowess of the Twingo 133 should be maintained.
There’s a lot of extra kit on the Twingo Gordini, including RenaultSport seats with quilted leather upholstery, a leather covered steering wheel, a blue gearlever gaiter, a blue rev counter, leather door panel inserts and a leather-trimmed dashboard cowl.
You’ll also find automatic climate-control, automatic headlamp activation, automatic wiper activation, cruise control, speed limiter, fully disconnectable ESP, a 80W radio-CD with fingertip steering wheel-mounted remote control, MP3 playback and separate display, iPod connectivity, an extra-tinted rear windows and individual sliding rear seats.
It’s nice that the Gordini is so well equipped, but extra kit means extra weight and that means less performance from the 133bhp 1.6-litre engine. Personally I’d take the Renaultsport Twingo Cup with it’s stripped out interior – less weight, more fun, and guaranteed to be cheaper than the Gordini when it arrives in March 2010.