Renault Wind Gordini roadster
Feel the air in your hair
Torque is cheap
As with all the best hot Renaults of recent years, development of the Wind was undertaken by the folks at Renaultsport, who know a thing or two about making quick, small, front-wheel drive cars. Making the most of the aged underpinnings, Renaultsport has created a car that is rewarding when grabbed by the scruff of the neck.
The Wind has to be hustled down the road to get the most out of it. This may not be the most relaxing way of getting between points A and B, but it’s certainly entertaining and encourages you to coax the most out of the Wind’s warm rather than hot performance which sees 0-60 covered in 10.2 seconds and lets you reach an eventual top speed of 118mph.
Renault’s boast for its 100PS, 16V 1.2-litre turbo is the economy of a 1.2 combined with the power of a 1.4 and the torque of a 1.6. I’ll give them points two and three, but I only managed 36.8mpg over a week so the claim of 44.8 over the combined cycle seems a tad optimistic. CO2 emissions are a very average 145g/km.
On the positive side, there’s plenty of torque available - 152Nm at 3500rpm - very little in the way of turbo lag and the short-throw five-speed manual gearbox is extremely positive. The engine also makes a pleasingly sporty growl all the way up to the red line.
Compared to other folding tin-tops like the Peugeot 207CC and Mercedes SLK, the Wind’s roof is a simple design with no amidships hinge. You simply unlock the clip in the middle of the windscreen frame, make sure the handbrake is on and hit the switch. Then the windows drop and the one-piece roof flips back into the boot lid in 12 seconds.
How can I leave this behind?
To put the roof back up, simply do the reverse. A helpful beep sounds at the end of each operation to let you know everything is in place and locked down before you move off.
The downside of the design is that you end up with a Targa-like affair rather than a flat deck from the A-pillars back. The upside is that it’s simple, reliable and doesn’t take up too much boot space.