IT nestles in the same sort of territory as the smartforfour and the Fiat 500, appealing to customers looking for a stylish small car.

But what you see is not quite what you get with the Renault Twingo GT. Those twin chrome tailpipes at the rear, the 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, GT body kit, rear spoiler, side skirts and extended wheel arches hint at hot-hatch performance.

The reality is that the fizzy three-cylinder engine achieves a 0 to 62mph sprint time of just under 10 seconds. It’s hardly even warm.

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And where the Twingo falls down further is in its complicated access to the and engine compartment. With the engine tucked under the boot floor and accessible only by unscrewing and removing a cover, Renault has had to concede convenience to give the Twingo that rear engine performance.

Developed by Renault Sport, the GT builds on the regular Twingo’s strengths. It’s certainly cool, is nimble and agile to steer and might even be described as an innovative take on the city car.

The rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout maximises interior space and it is a doddle to park, manoeuvre or complete a U-turn because the turning arc of the front wheels is not restricted by the engine.

Twingo comes as standard as a five and its appeal is heightened with a huge range of colour, trim and personalisation options so that buyers can create the exact look they want.

The GT gets 17-inch ‘Twin’Air’ diamond-cut alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipe and the Renault Sport markings on the side and rear of the car.

Renault Sport optimised Twingo’s rear-engine design to deliver high levels of driver enjoyment. Starting with the 898cc TCe engine – the most powerful in the Twingo range – Renault Sport’s engine designers tuned it to produce 110hp and 170Nm of torque in the GT. A modified turbocharger, uprated fuel pump, revised engine mapping and a specially-designed, freer-flowing twin silencer exhaust have contributed to the increase in power and torque.

The engine work sees the GT cover 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds and pick-up is among the best in class with 50-75mph taking less than nine seconds. Just don’t expect fireworks from this little engine.

New ratios ensure the GT’s five-speed manual gearbox is well suited, while the acceleration is at least lively if not thrilling.

Additionally, Renault Sport has improved the traction during sporty driving to take into account the new characteristics of the chassis and tyres. This allows a very slight drift when drivers hit the throttle on exiting a tight corner before the system kicks in to correct the trajectory, all without a dramatic loss of speed and with no detriment to safety.

Body-roll control also enables higher cornering speeds to be achieved with a relative sense of ease and comfort.

While the GT is designed to be a driver’s car, a lot of attention has been paid to comfort and safety. The R&GO application turns a smartphone into a touchscreen including sat-navigation. In addition, while standard features include emergency brake assist, hill start assist, speed limiter and cruise control.

Other standard features include automatic climate control, automatic lights and front wipers, fog lights with cornering function and rear parking sensors.

Twingo GT also has Renault Sport-badged door sills, aluminium pedals and a Sport gear lever knob.

Options include GT roof and bonnet decals, an electric panoramic fabric folding sunroof, lane departure warning system, heated front seats and the Techno Pack with R-Link multimedia system that incorporates 7-inch touchscreen/ navigation/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, voice control and reverse parking camera and sensors.