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First look: Renault Gordini returns with Twingo RS

Baby blue: The Renault Twingo Gordini marks the return of the famed sports nameplate in France.

Renault unveils Gordini super-mini in France, but Oz must wait for Clio version

26 Nov 2009

TRUE to its word, Renault took the covers off its Twingo Gordini Renaultsport in Paris overnight, heralding the revival of the Gordini nameplate that is expected to reach Australia with the Clio RS late in 2010.

As GoAuto reported earlier this month, Renault Australia has no intention of introducing the Twingo to Australia through the Gordini sub-brand, but is working to secure the Clio version and will consider other models understood to be in the pipeline, including an expected Megane version.

Renault’s senior vice-president of global marketing Stephen Norman has also revealed in recent months that a green electric version of the blue Gordini is under development, although Renault Australia has told GoAuto that “there is no Gordini at all on the Renault EV product line”.

The emergence of the Twingo Gordini ahead of its European release in March 2010 confirms a number of striking elements that will also be seen on the Clio, including the blue paintwork with white racing stripes and a host of sporting interior treatments.

The front and rear bumpers feature gloss black centre sections, while the foglamp surrounds, exterior door mirror housings and rear tailgate spoiler have a contrasting white finish.

35 center imageAccording to Renault, the ‘Gordini Series’ badging harks back to the 1960s heyday of the Gordini Cup in France when the qualifying heats of the different race meetings were known as ‘séries’.

Cabin highlights include blue-and-black Gordini-embossed leather trim on high-bolstered Renaultsport seats, a matching leather-wrapped steering wheel (complete with two white stripes to indicate the centre point), a blue gearlever gaiter and Gordini-badged gearlever knob, blue rev-counter with white surround, leather-trimmed dashboard cowl, and blue leather door panel inserts.

The French manufacturer has chosen not to redesign the front end with quad round headlights – a feature that arrived on the classic R1135-series R8 Gordini with the 1967 facelift – and the customisation levels available on the modern iteration do not extend to those available on rival brands, such as Mini and Fiat.

The Twingo can be ordered with a pearlescent black coating rather than the standard Malta blue, while specific customisation elements include the ‘Cup’ chassis (lower ride height, stiffer springs and dampers), 17-inch alloy wheels with a polished face and Malta blue inner rim (an upgrade from the standard 17-inch wheels with black inner rim), a Gordini key fob and Gordini carpet mats.

A panoramic sunroof, curtain airbags and multi-functional ‘TunePoint’ with hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone connection kit will also be available.

The Twingo Gordini uses the same performance and equipment package as the Renaultsport 133 version, which includes a ‘Sport’ chassis and 100kW 1.6-litre petrol engine with unique exhaust.

Other standard features include climate-control air-conditioning, auto headlights/wipers, switchable ESC, cruise control, tinted rear windows, and an 80W CD/MP3 stereo with steering controls.

“The latest Renault hot hatch will appeal to customers looking for a distinctive car with an assertive character, exuding an unmistakably French feel – a fitting tribute to everything for which the Gordini signature stands,” Renault said.

“Twingo Gordini Renaultsport is expected to win over customers looking for a sporty car with refined, distinctive styling. The newcomer combines the very best that the Twingo line-up has to offer with an indisputable Gordini flavour.”

As GoAuto has reported, the Gordini sub-brand is named after Italian-born motor racing mechanic and driver Amedee Gordini, who joined forces with Renault in the mid-1950s and developed a range of cars including the historic Dauphine and Renault 5, 8, 12 and 17.

In motor racing, the Renault 8 Gordini was one of the most successful, finishing first, third, fourth and fifth in the 1964 Tour de Corsica rally. In 1966, the 1300cc version heralded the Gordini Cup one-make race series, which Renault describes as “the blueprint for all single-make motorsport championships”.

The R8 Gordini also had considerable success in Australia, including a win in the 1970 Australian Rally Championship.

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