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Volkswagen Golf GTI - best hot hatchbacks

The VW Golf GTI was the founder of the hot hatch class, and the Mk7.5 is the best yet

Volkswagen Golf GTI - front

It was the result of an after-hours project by VW engineers, but the Golf GTI has gone on to become a landmark in sports car history. With its hatchback bodywork, a more powerful engine under the bonnet and uprated sports suspension, the GTI formula is one that has been emulated by car makers across the planet, although it's arguable that none has quite matched its magic formula.

• Volkswagen Golf GTI review

The current Golf GTI is the Mk7.5, having been updated in 2017 with new tech, along with the rest of the Golf range. However, VW also boosted the GTI's power output to 227bhp in the standard car and 242bhp in the GTI Performance. As before, there are three and five-door body choices (unlike the GTD diesel and faster Golf R, there will never be a GTI estate), while six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG auto gearboxes are offered.

Whichever you choose, you're guaranteed a fun drive. The chassis is responsive and the engine packs a punch, but the GTI manages to entertain while still being a useable everyday car that's just as happy going to the shops as it is shaving apexes on a track day.

Top 10 best hot hatchbacks 

  1. 1. Honda Civic Type R
  2. 2. Ford Fiesta ST
  3. 3. Renault Megane RS
  4. 4. MINI Cooper S
  5. 5. Hyundai i30 N
  6. 6. Volkswagen Golf GTI
  7. 7. SEAT Leon Cupra
  8. 8. Audi RS 3
  9. 9. BMW M140i
  10. 10. Skoda Octavia vRS
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