IT is always a nice perk of the job to test drive new cars and write about them.
The only downside is getting back into your own car after a brand new one – so climbing into my 2003 Peugeot 307 automatic after a couple of days whizzing round Wigan in the gorgeous Renault Wind Roadster GT was a tad depressing.
After seeing heads turn wherever I drove, I felt annoyed that people weren’t gawping in admiration at me any more – even when I strapped a megaphone to the top of my 307 booming out “look at me” on a constant loop.
I have been bitten by the bug. I now want a head-turner. And at under £14,000 for the basic Dynamique model from Arnold Clark in Beech Hill, the Wind Roadster might just be the answer.
Everyone in the office wanted a look and words like “sexy” and “gorgeous” were bandied about – unfortunately not aimed at me.
So what do you get for your money?
Well the Wind Roadster, first and foremost, is a two-seater coupe/convertible with a retractable roof, which takes just 12 seconds to fold in or out at the push or a button.
It’s stunning to look at from the outside and with sports seats and a small, chunky steering wheel, certainly feels the part when you climb in.
The layout inside leaves a little to be desired and looks a bit plasticy, but that’s just my opinion.
The car itself in terms of performance, and the version I had was the 1.2 turbo GT model, which costs a little more than the basic Dynamique, is awesome.
Acceleration is punchy, the ride is firm and the steering is responsive – as you would expect from a car the Renault Sport team have had their hands on.
It corners like a dream and despite being turbocharged, doesn’t guzzle fuel as you might expect.
Top speed is 118mph and it will reach 0-60 in 10.5 seconds, though it feels a lot quicker because you are so low to the ground.
The 1.6 model goes from 0-60 in 9.2 seconds and has a top speed of 125mph.
Surprisingly the boot is huge for a car of this size (270 litres of storage space) because the roof folds neatly into a space that sits on top of it, which makes it a little heavier to open when you have the top down.
The stereo or ‘multi-function tunepoint’ is great too, connecting via bluetooth to your smartphone and picking up your MP3s automatically or you can easily plug in your iphone or ipod and control the system from the steering wheel.
Cruise control, climate control and all the usual refinements you would expect from a modern day Renault such as ABS, power steering, auto headlights and wipers, 17inch alloy wheels and Thatcham approved alarm, make the Wind Roadster GT stand out amongst its competitors like the Vauxhall Tigra, Peugeot 207 convertible and Mazda MX5.
If you want a head-turner that doesn’t break the bank, doesn’t hammer you in the pocket on running costs and drives like a dream, then check out the Renault Wind Roadster – you won’t be disappointed.
For more details or to have a drive yourself contact Arnold Clark, Beech Hill, on 01942 225565.