There was a time when the smallest, nimblest hatchbacks (like the original VW Beetle and Fiat Cinquecento) put their engines in the back. But those days are long behind us... right? Well nobody seems to have told Renault, which has a proud history of putting its engines behind the seats with vehicles like the Renault 5 Turbo and Clio RS V6. Those were decidedly performance-oriented hot hatches, but now Renault is taking the formula to the masses with the introduction of the new Twingo.

Developed in parallel to Daimler's next-generation Smart, the third-generation Twingo takes its cues from the Twin'Z and Twin'Run concepts. Although Renault isn't saying what the engine is, it's mounted in the rear of a tiny five-door hatchback driving the rear wheels to make it nimble, fun to drive and free up interior space. The layout is in stark contrast to the previous two versions of the Twingo that mounted the engine up front in a three-door bodystyle, and ought to make for one heck of an entertaining RS hot hatch version.

The new Twingo will officially launch at the Geneva Motor Show next month, after which it will be available in four color schemes. By then, we hope, Renault will give us a bit more in the way of technical details to chew on. In the meantime you can scope out the high-res images in the gallery above and the video clip and press release below.
Show full PR text
New Twingo: Renault's fresh take on its popular city car

Two decades after it revolutionised the small car segment with the first-generation Twingo, Renault has taken a fresh look at its celebrated city car. The brand's engineers and designers started from a blank sheet of paper and took their inspiration from the legacy left by the original Twingo and the Renault 5. The result is a new, innovative and agile car that is great fun to drive.

Today (February 14) sees Renault take the wraps off New Twingo, the appeal of which includes a choice of four striking colours and a truly assertive personality.

A project in association with Daimler

In 2008, Renault's engineers and designers set out to create the next-generation Twingo with the aim of rekindling the innovative spirit that was such a hallmark of the original Twingo released in 1992. It was a challenging mission but they set their sights high, in keeping with the philosophy behind the iconic model which lost no time in becoming a symbol of Renault's creativity.
The aim was to create an even roomier and more agile city car, despite its smaller footprint, and this is how the idea of switching to a rear-mounted engine took form, in spite of the higher development costs this entailed.

Renault's thoughts found an echo in those of Daimler which, at the same time, was exploring ideas for the next-generation two- and four-seat versions of the Smart. After early talks, a strategic cooperation agreement was concluded by the two firms in 2010, marking the official green light for the joint-development of New Twingo and the next versions of the two- and four-seat Smart.

A rear-mounted engine for agile handling and extra cabin space

Positioning the engine at the rear is a significant plus for a small city car since it frees up the front end and considerably improves the turning circle. Indeed, New Twingo is surprisingly manoeuvrable in built-up areas and parking calls for only a few turns of the steering wheel.

Combined with the use of a smaller block and the positioning of the wheels at the car's extreme corners, the rear-mounted engine also frees up extra cabin space, while New Twingo also boasts the sort of wheelbase and roomy interior more generally associated with models in the next segment up.
Thanks to its pleasantly agile handling, spacious cabin and small front end, New Twingo delivers all the fundamentals that made the initial Twingo such a hit when it was unveiled at the 1992 Paris Motor Show.

A colourful personality

Mirroring the Twin'Z and Twin'Run concept cars that Renault presented in 2013, New Twingo oozes personality.

Like its forebear, New Twingo comes in a choice of four vibrant 'pop' colours (light blue, white, yellow and red), an unmistakable sign that the Twingo spirit is well and truly back!

Other cues are heavily inspired by the Renault 5, including the rake of New Twingo's rear screen and its prominent shoulders which are redolent of the rear-engined Renault 5 Turbo that proved so popular with the public in its day.

The front end features the brand's new trademark styling, including a prominent Renault logo set to a black background. New Twingo's expressive gaze is reinforced by its big head lights, which are topped by the direction indicators, as well as by its LED daytime running lights which combine a hi-tech feel with an echo of the model's predecessors. New Twingo's lines give it a cheery yet robust air, while the small car's sprightly personality is further underpinned by its readily recognisable lighting signature.

The originality of New Twingo's wide glass hatch makes an important contribution to the modernity its rear-end styling, while the rear lights are a natural prolongation of the tailgate.

Meanwhile, the new city car's five-door architecture – a first in the history of the model – makes it even more versatile than ever.

Indeed, New Twingo carries over some of the keys that are behind the success of its sibling, New Clio, including a sleek profile, concealed rear door handles and plenty of scope for personalisation thanks to the range of body colours and customisable exterior trim features like the door mirrors, side protective mouldings and decals. The four body colours and customisation options mean that New Twingo can take on a host of stances, from urban to sporty, feminine and masculine.

"New Renault Twingo was inspired not only by the original Twingo but also by the Renault 5. It is a modern take on the city car genre with the accent on innovation in terms of its lines and architecture. New Twingo is a fun, playful and vibrant city car." Laurens van den Acker, Head of Industrial Design, Renault

New Twingo... the 'inside' story

On March 4, it will be the turn of New Twingo's interior to be revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Just as they did when penning New Twingo's exterior lines, the design team drew inspiration from the model's héritage to propose a colourful and cheerful cabin which has been ingeniously thought through to deliver user-friendly, everyday versatility.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 56 Comments
      Narom
      • 10 Months Ago
      I don't need a rear engined twingo, but why do i want it so badly? This sounds like a hoot.
      Felipe Politano
      • 10 Months Ago
      Now that is the layout for the upcoming Smart Forfour, which is meant to be sold in the US. So yes, there will be a rear-engined rwd hot hatch, but presumably priced a little higher than the Spark and 500. And yes, Smart will finally have a relevant offer in America. Let's see if enthusiasts and haters will be able to see through its badge.
      Brett
      • 10 Months Ago
      I love those gatling-gun foglights. Reminds me a bit of the third-gen Q45, a car I really liked when it was new.
      Donny
      • 10 Months Ago
      And how much of Nissan does Renault own? Just a thought of how to see them in the U.S.
        speterjr
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Donny
        We're not even getting the March/Micra (but the Canadians are), a conventional FWD subcompact. They certainly won't send us the Twingo.
      citroen_2cv
      • 10 Months Ago
      A noveau Gordini, great idea!
      Tony Akinremi
      • 10 Months Ago
      This would be a very interesting car to have in US. Come on Nissan re-badge some of these and sell them over here.
        juniorswa
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Tony Akinremi
        no rebadging...just sell them as Renaults. but yes, I agree, sell them here.
      Colin
      • 10 Months Ago
      It's four door. But is should get the three cylinder turbo. Great turning circle, great ride (high profile tyres) , and doubtless huge fun. As for the flip out rear windows, well, Citroen has also fitted these to the Cactus to save weight and cost, and why not? All cars have A/C now anyway. This is another car on my list. Great year for fun, economical and affordable small cars. France has got its mojo back. Given modern technology this should handle brilliantly - can't wait ...... :-)))))
      George Krpan
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is a great design. Makes the Fiat 500 look out of date. It could come to the US as a Nissan. The original VW bug weighed about 1600 lbs. I owned a few and never came close to rolling one. Because of their light weight they handled better than most other cars from back in the day.
        speterjr
        • 10 Months Ago
        @George Krpan
        It should come to the US as a Renault, if anything. Nissan has no history of little rear-engined cars, as far as I know. I believe Honda, Suzuki, and Subaru do. But we know they won't bring it here. Not after the dismal ratings all those new small cars got in the federal offset crash tests. No, it's Jurassic crossovers for us 'Muricans.
          chanonissan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          @speterjr Honda,suzuki and subaru have no history of small rear wheel drive, but I believe subaru have history of small all wheel drive.The honda rear wheel car S600 was a roadster it was not small, and could compare to nissan datsun rear wheel drive.
          chanonissan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          @RedBarchetta I would agree with the suzuki fronte as I totally forget about that small car, but honda S500/S600 was the smallest honda FR to be made, but they was not that small compare to a twingo or fonte or suzuki alto, the S500/S600 and nissan fairlady was the same size. Nissan even had a smaller car called the dc-3 it was smaller that the honda S500/S600 they are both FR layout.
          Aaron N
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          Uh chanonissan, the S600 was extremely small. It was even smaller than the Datsun Z... http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Honda/65_Honda_S600_Conv_Dv-07-CC_010.jpg
          chanonissan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          this was even much smaller, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datsun_DC-3
          chanonissan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          nissan have no history of rear wheel drive small cars, but they do offer 4 wheel drive small cars, one was the hatch back pulsar
          chanonissan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @speterjr
          @ Aaron N "The Fairlady saw competitors follow its introduction, with examples called the Honda S500, the Toyota Sports 800, and the Daihatsu Compagno." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datsun_Fairlady
      edward.stallings
      • 10 Months Ago
      The original Beetle would turn over in a heartbeat. Is that nimble? Hatchback? The rear "hatch" was where the engine was. That is not a hatchback. The Fiat Cinquecento was front engined, rear drive, not rear engined. The Fiat 500 was rear engined but was not a hatchback .... Jeez Noah, how do you have a job writing about cars?
      Leviathan18
      • 10 Months Ago
      twingo clubsport 180-200 hp high revs n/a engine (i can live with a turbo) 6 speed short shift manual and 7 speed dsg for the left leg impaireds (or people living in cities with high volume traffic) weight close to 1 ton, nice bucket seats 3 doors configuration and I have 25000 euros waiting for a car like that
      skoobey
      • 10 Months Ago
      Mhm so they rip off 500 exterior and Panda interior, and they say it's inspired by Renault 5? I don't think so. If anything, it looks like they added Renault 5 cues here and there to the 500. That being said, IT IS ADORABLE! I don't know how much space is there, if any, in the front trunk, and how it would behave on the road/streets. And, if it's this tiny, it really needs to sip fuel. Like 70mpg. I can't stand the fact that something like the 500 or i10 wastes as much fuel asa car twice or three times the size.
        skoobey
        • 10 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        I drove the old one 1.2 85hp one, and it gets 35-40 mpg tops on the urban cycle... so I just don't get the point of getting a smaller car, that is not small enough to cram into unmarked parking spots(like Smart and a couple of electric solutions). Why not just get a bigger car that is more comfortable at the same price, that sips just as much fuel?
          May
          • 10 Months Ago
          @skoobey
          Because bigger car will be more expensive, more difficult to park and definitely less economical.
      theautojunkie
      • 10 Months Ago
      ....Well here we go again, another car we can't have, were stuck with the proverbial carrot in front of the donkey. This is what American engineers fail to see as a saving grace for the American car business. Two doors mid-engined pocket rocket, How many of those you would sell priced at Fiat 500 levels? Dream on America, we'll be waiting for awhile longer until someone from 'The Big Three' read our comments on Autoblog, yeah right.......
        theautojunkie
        • 10 Months Ago
        @theautojunkie
        ...I realize I misspoke about the number of doors and mid-engine, but I still think that these types of vehicle is going to appeal to the younger car-buying public, giving them more smiles to the gallon.
    • Load More Comments