Ah, the hot hatch. It feels clichéd to describe it as ‘all the car you’d ever need’, but that old adage exists for a reason. Who could fail to be drawn to the combination of practicality and day-to-day usability with the ability to put a mile-wide grin on your face when the right stretch of road presents itself?
The genre emerged in the 1970s, with early efforts like the Simca 1100 ti, Renault 5 Alpine and of course, the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Many would cite the 1980s as a golden age, when later developments of those VWs and Renaults, together with the legendary Peugeot 205 GTI, led a charge by everyone from Daihatsu to Dodge to make spicy versions of their humble runabouts.
The 1990s were a turbulent time with high insurance premiums dulling the impact of the traditional hot hatch and homologation heroes like the Lancia Delta Integrale taking the lead. The Golfs, Clios and Civics of the 2000s reinvigorated the hot hatch landscape, with cars like the Mini GP and Megane R26.R introducing a sub-genre of super-hardcore track special. Then came the emergence of the Golf Rs, RS3s and A45s that define the genre today – turbocharged, four-wheel drive, devastatingly quick point-to-point and boasting performance figures that would humiliate the supercars of 20 years ago. With the first quiet rumblings of the electric hot hatch starting to appear, the concept is soon to undergo another sea change, but the recipe remains the same: hatchback practicality, sports car performance.
Hatches at C&M is all about celebrating the hot hatch in all its forms – old and new, stripped-back and high-tech, lightweight and powerful. Consider it our way of championing these people’s champions. Tuesday 6 June, 5pm onwards.
See the website for more details.