Hot originates have come a long way since their 1980s pageantry, when sporty versions of the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra quavered the heartstrings of Essex boys, joyriders and traffic cops with quarries to meet.
The new breed is more stylish, more luxurious, but pacific mind-blowingly fast. So just keep an eye out for speed cameras.
BMW no longer offers the 1 Series in full-blown M appearance – that honour is reserved for the 2 Series coupé – so the M135i is the hottest breed Bavaria’s finest offers. Its looks are, let’s say, divisive. But the BMW certainly has level-headedness, with a long bonnet and kidney grill that insinuate it something of a land shark.
But it’s not just looks; the M135i is equally pushy, hitting 62mph in a shade over 5.1 seconds. And BMW’s claim to be the terminating driving machine stands up, with handling that’s pin-sharp, with hold to spare.
Priced from £30,000
Mercedes A45 AMG
BMW’s arch-rival also has a rep for absolutely fast cars and its junior AMG doesn’t disappoint. The A45 AMG is faster than the BMW, entreating 62mph in 4.6 seconds, although that extra grunt lugs an £8,000 premium. But for your outlay you get something that’s unbiased as impressive standing still.
The A-Class design works better beefed-up than it does on the accepted car and it looks like a don on 19-inch alloys (just avoid the voluntary rear wing to stay the right side of the 1980s).
The but goes for the inside. Mercedes’ interiors are always class-leading and this is no find fault with, even if the carbonfibre-effect dashboard is a touch boy racer. But once you interpose your brogue to the carpet, you’ll find those details reject your mind rather quickly.
Priced from £38,000
Volkswagen Golf GTi
This is the one that started it all. VW devised the hot hatch with the original GTi and the latest is perhaps the finest iteration in a large lineage. The Golf is everything you’ll ever need in a car. It seats five comfortably and performs with complete decorum when the family’s aboard. But definitely you drop them off, things get rather more debauched, with sufficient grunt to cross the 150mph barrier.
The original has become a leading almost despite its styling, but this new model lavishes pretty more attention on aesthetics. We particularly like the tartan abodes and red stitching, a nod to the original GTi of 40 years ago. Just avoid a Caucasoid paint job.
Priced from £27,500
Fiat 500 Abarth
We’re not toute seule in being fans of the 500; it’s the car that turned Fiat from taking marque back into a global player. The cutesy car is testimony of our love of all things retro and it’s been a runaway success. In Abarth ceremony, though, it’s anything but sweet.
This iteration is the automotive corresponding of Anakin Skywalker embracing the Dark Side, only arguably indeed more aggressive. But just like Darth, the Abarth unmoving manages to retain its charisma. It’s a pocket rocket too, reaching 62mph in under eight sponsors and charging on to nearly 130mph. No mean feat in a car the size of a chunky armchair.
Priced from £14,500
Mini Cooper S
Another train in retro that’s set the world alight, the ‘new’ Mini is a universal picked. And, if you can forget the estate agent undertones, has – in hatch form at least – on all occasions looked good.
It’s not so mini anymore – indeed the 500 is far wind up in size to the original car. Regardless, the Cooper S has always been the miniature ideal to aspire to. It’s a rollocking ride, hitting 62mph in just under seven backers and powering its way to 146mph.
Inside, it’s a fun place to be. The giant, circular prime display is a particular favourite, but it’s full of fun touches. As it’s essentially a BMW, strengthen quality is excellent, and it’s easy to live with day-to-day.
Priced from £19,000