Peugeot 205 GTi ‘greatest hot hatch’

Pocket rocket: the Peugeot 205 GTi has been hailed the greatest ever hot hatchback.

Pocket rocket: the Peugeot 205 GTi has been hailed the greatest ever hot hatchback. - Credit: supplied

The greatest ever hot hatch was unveiled at the Performance Car Show as the giant-beating Peugeot 205 GTi.

The pocket rocket was the overwhelming winner, revealed by triple British touring car champion Matt Neal at the show, after a comprehensive selection and reader voting contest.

The top 10 finalists are displayed as part of a new Hot Hatch Nirvana display at the show which is part of Autosport International at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham which finishes on Sunday. A display, called Evolution of the Hot Hatch, features an unrivalled collection of iconic cars that have come to define and evolve the genre of hot hatches, which hold a special place in the hearts of many, over the decades.

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 respected UK motoring titles.

Autocar's editor-in-chief Steve Cropley and road test editor Matt Prior, editor Dan Trent and Autocar contributing editor and Hot Hatch Nirvana curator Richard Bremner compiled the list of contenders for the public vote.

The final top 10 comprised:

? Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6.

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? Lancia Delta HF Integrale.

? Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

? VW Golf GTi Mark I.

? Renault Clio Williams.

? Renault Clio 182 Trophy.

? VW Golf GTi Mark II.

? Renault 5 GT Turbo.

? Ford Focus RS Mark I.

? Talbot Lotus Sunbeam.

Mr Bremner said: '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.'

Mark Pickles, Peugeot UK marketing director, said: '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.'

What was your favourite hot hatch? Were you lucky enough to own one? Email