Peugeot 205 GTi crowned greatest ever hot hatch

Hot hatches hold a special place in the hearts of many, but the Performance Car Show has revealed what they describe as the greatest of all.

Following a global poll, the Peugeot 205 GTi emerged as the winner and was voted the best hot hatch ever. The revelation took place at the Performance Car Show this morning, with three-time British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal pulling the covers off.

The 205 GTi saw off some of the most popular hatches of all time to claim the accolade, having been part of a shortlist of 50. This shortlist was drawn up by a group of renowned automotive experts from two of the UK’s most respected and notable motoring titles. It then went to a public vote.

The final top 10 features some of the most iconic and desired cars of the last four decades. The Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution 1 finished as a worthy runner up to the 205 GTi, while the most recognised Ford Escort of all time – the RS Cosworth from the mid-1990s – completed a prestigious podium.

The car that really lit the fuse on the hot hatch explosion back in 1976 – the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 1 – was also a strong performer, and it is testament to the Golf GTI’s appeal that the Mk2 also featured in the final 10. There were also two Renault Clios, with the Clio RenaultSport 182 Trophy from 2005 and the Clio Williams, which famously sported metallic blue paint and gold wheels, both proving popular with voters.

Here is the final top 10 (all of which will be on display at Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show alongside Autosport International ):

1. Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6

2. Lancia Delta HF Integrale

3. Ford Escort RS Cosworth

4. VW Golf GTI Mk1

5. Renault Clio Williams

6. Renault Clio 182 Trophy

7. VW Golf GTI Mk2

8. Renault 5 GT Turbo

9. Ford Focus RS Mk1

10. Talbot Lotus Sunbeam

Hot Hatch Nirvana curator Richard Bremner said of the winner: “The Peugeot 205 GTi was unbeatable for its sheer rev-happy, go-hard verve and subtly perfect styling. Lightning-quick gearshifts, urgent power delivery, blade-sharp steering and deliciously driftable handling made the 205 an overnight hot hatch king. And it was practical, too. For many it has never been bettered as its victory in this PistonHeads.com and Autocar readers’ vote confirms.”

As well as a top ten of public-voted hot hatches, visitors to Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show can also see a display called Evolution of the Hot Hatch, which will feature 10 hot hatches that have defined the genre for more than the last forty years. The display will take visitors on a wonderful journey, covering all of the key hot hatches that have moved the game on time after time.

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