10 Cars Crying Out For A Wicked Hot Version

Why don’t the chaps who build these motors get their act together to make fast versions?

10. Fiat Panda

The last Fiat Panda hot hatch, the 100HP, was a cracking little funbox that’s soon to be one of the most bargain-tastic entry-level hot hatches you can snap up. They’re £3k at the moment, but that should drop if Fiat does the clever thing and builds a new one. Take the funky new Panda, turn up the wick of the 500’s genius two-cylinder TwinAir engine to 100bhp, and you’re laughing. Abarth Panda, anyone?

9. Suzuki Swift Sport

The standard SSS is a cracking little warm hatch, with tons of kit, a chuckable chassis, and a decent engine. We’d love to keep it non-turbo for that razor-sharp throttle response. A remap and some tastier engine internals and exhaust could boost it from 134bhp to about 180bhp, where it’d be climbing all over the back of a Ford Fiesta ST. Time for a name change: Suzuki Wicked-Fast Sport!

8. Toyobaru GT86/BRZ/Scion FRS

Yes, the whole point of CT’s Car of the Year 2012 is its lower grip and power levels, and big driving fun. We get that. Some power freaks don’t, and although they’re missing the point, it’s hard not be be turned on by the thought of that chassis matched to 250-300bhp. So not only can you out-drift hot hatches, you can outrun them too...

7. MG6

Ever seen one? Thought not. If you have, it’s probably Jason Plato’s BTCC touring car, which inspired a crappy stickered special edtion with no extra power. Come on, Chinese MG! If you want people to bother giving your off-the-pace family hatch a second glance, it needs to grow a pair. Of turbos. Or you’ll be going back down the drain quicker than Lidl-own brand apple sours.

6. Mitsubishi ASX

No more Evo, not much life in the Colt, and no-one’s buying the ASX thanks to more interesting options like the Nissan Juke. A car and a brand badly in need of some A-SX appeal, we need some all-wheel drive and 2.0-litre turbo power on the double. A Mitsubishi with real rally pedigree know-how versus Mini’s rage-inducing Countryman Cooper S? Spare us, Mitsubishi.

5. Honda CR-Z

Honda came so close to giving its hybrid coupe a hot version, with the carbon-fibre, supercharged Mugen. Sadly, the £23k asking price didn’t amuse the accountants, who killed the idea. How can the sportiest Honda only pack 130bhp? It’s not fair on the company that gave us the Integra,  NSX and S2000.

4. Mercedes E-class coupe

The big E has just had a serious facelift, ditched the bug-eyed face, and looks pretty smart. Yet there’s no AMG version, unlike the saloon and estate family. A bi-turbo 5.5-litre V8 version wouldn’t half give the BMW M6 a hard time of it, and just imagine a Black Series version. Merc has AMG-ed the G-wagen, R-class, and GL. Do the decent thing and man-up your coupe!

3. BMW Z4

Neither the BMW Z3 M Coupe or Z4 M were the last word in dynamic finesse, or even in the last sentence. But they did look most excellent, and added some ‘Ultimate Driving Machiness’ to a range ever more populated by diesel saloons and niche coupe/SUVs. The current Z4 is a fairly handsome bit of kit, but the hottest one uses the same twin-turbo engine as the 1M, and has, shock horror, no flared wheelarches. sDrive35is? Get out. Z4M please.

2. VW Up/Citigo/Mii

The trio of VW Group city cars are complete blinders. Just about the only think I craved while punting along inside the spacious, well-equipped, perfectly finished cabin was a bit more poke to play with. Luckily, a 100bhp Up GT is supposedly on the way. Skoda and Seat would be mental not to offer their own upgraded Citigo vRS and Mii Cupra versions. The next great back-to-basics hot hatch? Watch this space.

1. Honda Civic Type-R

Some of the cars here are those we like the idea of, like the Swift or Abarth Panda. But the lack of a Civic Type-R is one that makes me angry. Not only does Honda need to keep up its petrolhead legacy, but the new Civic is a fairly ugly and unremarkable tool. Just the sort of fruit that’s ripe for a rework! Hold your fire though, because Honda has promised it’s on the way, and made BIG claims about its abilities. Prepare for 300 turbocharged horsepower through the front wheels, and a new Nurburgring record. The current front-drive hatch winner is the RenaultSport Megane, good for an 8min 8sec lap – even faster than a BMW M135i! Could Honda finally earn its place in our hearts once again by dipping into a seven-minute Ring time? Bring it on.


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