It all started in the 1970s, when a group of Volkswagen engineers undertook an after-hours project to create the world's first ‘hot hatchback’ – the MkI Golf GTI. It was never intended as a production car, but little did they know what a pioneering success it would turn out to be.
Since then, almost every manufacturer has had a go at making a definitive hot hatch, and VW finds itself readying its seventh incarnation of the popular Golf GTI. BMW has re-written the rulebook with its new M135i, mixing rear-wheel-drive handling with immense power. Meanwhile, a car like the more modest but equally brilliant Suzuki Swift Sport offers hot-hatch thrills on a lower budget.
So if you’re in the market for a fast, fun hatchback, here are 10 of the best.