We take a look at some very reasonably priced hot hatches
Hot hatches are all the rage these days, but you can get some serious bang-for-your-buck if you’re prepared to look through some slightly older options. These are some of the bargains we found.
Citroën DS3 Racing, £4995: Citroën probably isn’t the first word most people type into a search engine when shopping for a hot hatch. Nor most likely is DS, now a stand-alone aspiring luxury brand. Yet a model very much worth considering from the former French alliance is the DS3 Racing.
This sporty variant of the DS3 supermini, introduced in 2011, took inspiration from Citroën’s World Rally Championship success at the hands of Sébastien Loeb, and what resulted was a rival to Renault’s Clio RS that even ruffled the feathers of the Mini John Cooper Works.
The DS3 Racing’s 0-62mph time of 6.5sec was courtesy of a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produced 204bhp. Its ride height was dropped by 15mm and it gained a 30mm wider track, while carbonfibre body features and larger Brembo brakes were fitted.
As well as Citroën Racing branding, two exclusive paint colour combinations – Obsidian Black/ Sport Orange and Polar White/ Carbon Grey – helped to distinguish this car from the standard DS3.
Inside, the standard seats were replaced with sporty buckets and carbonfibre decorated the dashboard. The DS3 Racing cost from £23,100 when new, and just 200 right-hand-drive examples were built.
We managed to find one with 80,000 miles on the clock for only £4995. While the cost of insurance is likely to be quite high, running costs should be reasonable, thanks to an official 44.1mpg.
You might be less lucky than we were and have to look long and hard to find one online, but once you do, you could be onto a very good thing.
Skoda Fabia vRS, £2000: The Fabia vRS is a bit of a modern classic. It was Skoda’s first hot hatch, powered by a 126bhp and 229lb ft 1.9-litre TDI engine that took our testers to 60mph in just 7.2sec. A decent fuel economy and a manual gearbox are other pleasant surprises.
BMW 118d M Sport, £2990: The second oil-burner in this week’s selection, this 2004 1 Series offers punchy performance plus 60mpg, thanks to its 2.0-litre powerplant. Although it has done 120,000 miles, it comes with an in-depth service history and lots of goodies inside.
Peugeot 208 GTI, £6495: The lower, lighter and more powerful version of the 208 gets 205bhp from a 1.6-litre turbo engine that’s good for 62mph in 6.8sec. This 2013 example is furnished with extras including parking assistance, cornering assist foglights and a panoramic roof.
Volkswagen Golf VR6 4Motion, £3750: Powered by a 2.8-litre narrow-angle V6 producing 204bhp, this four-wheel-drive, manual-shift Mk4 Golf can sprint to 0-62mph in 7.1sec. It has travelled 106,000 miles in 21 years but appears to be in great nick and could make for a fine sporty daily driver.
Auction watch – Bentley Mk VI:
The Mk VI was the first model built by Bentley after the war (1946 to 1952), and was capable of hitting 100mph thanks to its 4.25-litre inline six. This Seychelles Blue and Shell Grey saloon has covered 70,000 miles in its 73 years, many of those on continental tours and to Bentley owners’ meetings. It’s largely unmodified and unrestored, retaining its original bay, hubcaps and wheels, plus a clean interior adorned with decorative wood. It even has a sunroof and picnic tables in the back. The buyer paid £21,250, no doubt reassured by the comprehensive pile of accompanying documents.
Future classic – Rover 200 BRM, £3995:
Just 795 examples of the 200 BRM went on sale in the UK. It was based on the 200Vi but with a sporting bent. Its orange nose was a callback to the British Racing Motors Formula 1 team of the 1960s, as was its Brooklands Green paint. The suspension was lowered by 20mm and a close-ratio gearbox and a limited-slip differential were added. A 142bhp 1.8-litre VVC K-series engine gave 0-62mph in 8.6sec, while the interior had a red theme. The best 200 BRMs cost more than this 1999-registered one, owing to the model’s growing rarity.
Clash of the classifieds
Brief: Can you find me a good looking coupé for less than £5000?
Fiat Coupé 20v Turbo, £4100, vs Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0 V6, £4500
MARK PEARSON: No, Oliver, my find isn’t a Ferrari, but it is the nearest thing to it. The Italian masterpiece I’ve chosen here is worth getting out the chequebook for its looks alone, but when you consider the heritage of the thing and then you actually drive it, you will be forever smitten. It has eager handling and character by the bucketload. And look at it! Bangle at his best. What have you got?
OLIVER YOUNG: too have gone the Italian route with a stunner penned by Pininfarina. This is an Alfa Romeo GTV and, as design masterpieces go, it ranks higher than your Fiat in my eyes. Sure, the Coupé is, let’s say, interesting to look at, but it can’t match this Alfa for tasteful flair, elegance and sportiness. And not only am I describing its exterior, because the glorious 220bhp 3.0-litre V6 sure knows how to pull at the heartstrings as well.
MP: Good Lord, I wouldn’t trust an old heap like that. And such a short wheelbase too. One for the brave!
OY: Okay, its reliability is questionable, but the same can be said about your Fiat. Remember, this brief is primarily about looks, and with that in mind, Mark, you would choose the Alfa.
MP: Hey, don’t second guess me. Cut me and I bleed Fiat. And don’t forget that my car has room for the family. It’s like a modern-day Bristol 406 Zagato. Job done. Mic drop.
Verdict, James Ruppert: As much as I love an Alfa, that Fiat now looks like nothing on Earth, so it’s the one I’d rather wait for the AA with.