...and my Peugeot 205GTI was on show there to take tohe honour for peugeot

Hot hatches hold a special place in the hearts of many, but the Performance Car Show presented by Landsail Tyres in association with Autocar and can now reveal 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, with three-time British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal pulling the covers off (my car).

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.

Autocar’s Editor-in-Chief, Steve Cropley and Road Test Editor, Matt Prior, Editor, Dan Trent as well as Autocar Contributing Editor and overall curator, Richard Bremner came together to compile the list of contenders, which 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 ten (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 (My car)
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 and Autocar readers’ vote confirms.”

Mark Pickles, Peugeot UK Marketing Director, commented: “Peugeot is blessed to have a rich and extensive history, with a portfolio of iconic cars. They remain accessible and true to our values of motion and emotion. The 205 GTi was launched in 1985 and the enthusiastic following it has enjoyed ever since still influences the affection for the brand, most notably with the GT and GTi models we offer in our current line-up. The selection and reader survey to find the ‘Greatest Ever Hot Hatch’, announced at the Performance Car Show has showed the Peugeot 205 GTi to be the overwhelming winner, and we couldn’t be more delighted.”

As well as a top ten of public-voted hot hatches, visitors to Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show could 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 took 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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