We had the great opportunity to meet Csaba Wittinger at Geneva Motor Show. As the original designer of New Twingo, he tells us about the inspirations that drew his pencil on the tablet and how this brand-new city car inherits Renault’s DNA.
What were the inspirations for New Twingo ?
Laurens van den Ackeren asked us to make an iconic which could be a successor a Twingo. Instead of taking only inspiration just from Twingo, we went further and I was inspired by the Renault 5 and especially the R5 Turbo.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the R5 Turbo inspiration ?
I think Renault has been one of the great actors in the city car segment for a long time. Not only with the R5 or Twingo. It started much earlier. Just about the rear engine, let me mention the 4CV, or R8-R10 which were the last rear engined Renault car in big series. All those cars were really important and I would say “iconic cars” in the history of Renault brand.
How does New Twingo have Renault DNA?
Renault is a brand that was never scared of trying new things. You can do things no one would ever expect. Take the R5 for instance. It’s a classic front-engine car. But for racing reasons, Renault decided to create a rear-engine version, which became an unlimited tool for the race (same goes for Clio V6 actually). Renault was one of the first carmakers to create super cars from its range.
You also designed Twin Run revealed one year ago. There was an obvious link with R5 in this concept car. What elements did you take from the R5 Turbo for the New Twingo?
The most obvious is the theme on the body side to recall the widened body of the R5 Turbo and of course the tailgate. The angle is very close to the R5. We also integrated the tail lamps in a way pretty similar to recreate the expression of the extractors that used to be on the rally car.
What is your first R5 Turbo memory?
The very first one was probably a miniature car my brother had. In Hungary, where I’m from, it was a very popular racing car. I was a kid at that time. This rally car was so strong, extreme and beautiful at the same time, it sure influenced me, until today. I loved watching Jean Ragnotti drive it. I was so proud last year when he drove Twin’Run [which Csaba designed] and liked it! As a rally pilot, he instantly made the connection with his former R5 Turbo. For me it’s a great achievement, and it would make me so proud if this Twingo goes into history as being a heir to the R5 Turbo.
What was the link between R5 and Twingo ?
If you think about the R5, it was very affordable, it was a very well-known compact-car produced in high numbers. This car has been a milestone in Renault history to make a new kind of cars with a face expression and strong personality. Twingo I was the first heir to the R5. The New Twingo has been taking in that rich heritage and is just continuing the story.
What would you say to people about an eventual link with Fiat 500 ?
It comes from the silhouette which was determined by the choice of the platform and the rear engine architecture. Except from that, you can’t point out anything that would be similar. We have a short overhang and large wheelbase which allowed us to have real rear doors. I had the chance to play with the angle of the tailgate which makes this car iconic, coming from the R5.
As a designer, was the rear engine architecture a challenge or an opportunity ?
This was a great opportunity for us to design something completely new. It’s always very exciting for a designer to try something else and explore new solutions. We were able to put the wheels in the corners and shorten the over-hangs. This gave us the possibility to have a spectacular turning circle of 8,65 meter which is really useful in the daily use of a city-car.
Were there a lot of changes since your first drawing ?
The final car is pretty close from my original idea and I’m proud of that.
Why did your project “win” the internal competition to design New Twingo?
Laurens van den Acker, Senior VP, Design, was the first to believe in my idea, to keep inspirations from the R5 Turbo. I think I was lucky, because he really liked it and trusted me from the beginning. In fact this New Twingo is neither a Twingo I nor a R5 Turbo revival, although it was inspired by both. It’s just a real Renault!