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

Recommended

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Volkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Volkswagen Golf R - front
Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Volkswagen Golf R

We bring the fastest versions of the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 together to find the best performance variant
17 Mar 2021
New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 2021 review
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport - front
Road tests

New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 2021 review

Does more power and a finer chassis mean the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport is the hot hatch to have?
5 Mar 2021
BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
Car group tests

BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI

The new BMW 128ti goes up against the latest iteration of the car that kicked off the hatch segment - the Volkswagen Golf GTI
27 Feb 2021
New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 launched
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 launched

Volkswagen has unveiled a new special edition version of the GTI Clubsport to celebrate the iconic hot hatchback’s 45th birthday
26 Feb 2021

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
New Citroen C5 X flagship crossover set to offer ‘ultimate comfort’
Citroen C5 X - front
Citroen C5

New Citroen C5 X flagship crossover set to offer ‘ultimate comfort’

The new flagship Citroen C5 X will arrive with petrol and plug-in hybrid power, and looks set to cost from around £27,000 when it arrives in the UK in…
12 Apr 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed

The new all-electric Kia EV6 gets two batteries, 4WD and even a rapid sporty GT version. Prices start from £40,895
30 Mar 2021