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20 Iconic Cars That Created the Hot Hatch Class

Vukasin HerbezOctober 7, 2017

  1. Audi RS3

The Audi RS3 is one of the most influential and important hot hatches ever. And the latest incarnation or RS3 lineage features the most powerful hot hatch engine the world has ever seen. In fact, it is the best accelerating hot hatch on the market.

With 400 HP, a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine and a 4.1 second 0 to 60 mph time, the RS3 is a land rocket capable of beating many expensive sports cars. Yet, it still is docile enough to drive down to the grocery shop or transport the family. This car just shows how far the hot hatch class has come in the last 50 years.

It has evolved from the humble Mini Cooper with 55 HP to the eight times more powerful Audi with intelligent all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. And the RS3 symbolizes the philosophy behind the modern upper echelon hot hatches. They must have all-wheel drive, a dual-clutch transmission, a turbo engine and unbelievable acceleration times.

  1. Fiat 500 Abarth

Even though the 500 Abarth has only 160 HP coming from its tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, it is a seriously fast and fun little car. And that is due to its small weight and compact dimensions. Also, it is extremely practical in everyday driving and easy to park, as well.

Also, they completed the package with a small price and running costs. For drivers on a budget with an irresistible need for speed, this small but wicked car could be your answer.

  1. Renault Clio Williams

France always produced great hot hatch models, so in the early `90s, one of the most respected was the Renault Clio Williams. This car was a step up from the legendary Peugeot 205 GTI. Plus, it was a more modern, powerful and faster vehicle.

Under the hood was a high revving 2.0-liter engine with 145 HP, which was a high figure for the day. But, Renault added a stiffer suspension, bigger brakes and several noticeable bodywork modifications on the car. They made it a true street fighter and a great basis for a successful rally car. Over the few years of production, Renault made around 12,000 of them.

  1. Volkswagen Golf GTI MK5

The Mk I Golf GTI singlehandedly created the modern hot hatch class. But, some 30 years later in 2005, MK5 Golf GTI reinvented it. The Mk V GTI was the perfect combination of a great chassis with a 200 HP engine. And then they added modern technology to create the best driving dynamics and praise from the automotive press.

Another interesting feature was the new DSG double clutch automatic transmission, which was a great option. In fact, it helped the MK5 GTI achieve fantastic acceleration times.

  1. Ford Focus ST

The third generation of the Ford Focus brought drivers a great economy compact car. But, when Ford introduced the ST model in 2012, buyers got an almost perfect hot hatch. And under the hood was a 2.0-liter four cylinder with turbocharger and 252 HP.

They perfectly tuned the rest of the car, too. So, it represented a fantastic balance between performance and everyday usability.

  1. Mazdaspeed 3

The perfect example of an overpowered and brutal front wheel hot hatch is the legendary Mazdaspeed 3. They introduced it in 2007, and it was powered by a 2.3-liter four cylinder delivering 263 HP. And that was considered a crazy number of horsepower to send to the front wheels.

However, despite severe torque steer, the Mazdaspeed 3 was a capable and rapid car. It even brought many customers back to the dealerships. Also, it reintroduced Mazda as one of the prime affordable performance brands on the U.S. market at that time.

In Conclusion

These 20 hot hatches prove you can have power, good looks and affordability, too. Did you find your favorite on this list? Indeed, the car world has embraced the hot hatch and is waiting for the next generation to arrive at car dealerships everywhere.

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