Peugeot 205 GTi Crowned The ‘Greatest Ever Hot Hatch’ At The Performance Car Show

January 14, 2016 By Mike Lee
Last updated on January 14, 2016

1993 205 GTi

  • The Peugeot 205 GTi is named the greatest hot hatch of all time at Performance Car Show
  • Launched in 1984, the Peugeot 205 has attracted the affections of enthusiasts ever since
  • The 205 GTi saw off legendary cars like the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution in a comprehensive selection and public reader voting contest

The ‘Greatest Ever Hot Hatch’ was unveiled by triple BTCC Champion Matt Neal at the Performance Car Show following a comprehensive selection and reader voting contest, revealing the overwhelming winner was … the giant-beating Peugeot 205 GTi.

The top-ten finalists are being displayed as part of new ‘Hot Hatch Nirvana’ display at the Performance Car Show which is part of Autosport International, held at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham between the 14th and 17th January.  A must-see display called ‘Evolution of the Hot Hatch’ features an unrivalled collection of iconic cars that have come to define and evolve the genre over decades. Hot hatches hold a special place in the hearts of many, and the Performance Car Show is presented by Landsail Tyres in association with Autocar and

Following a global poll, the Peugeot 205 GTi emerged as the winner and was duly crowned the ‘Greatest Ever Hot Hatch’. The 205 GTi saw off some of the most popular hatches of all time to claim the accolade, having been part of a shortlist of 50. This shortlist was drawn up by a group of renowned automotive experts from two of the UK’s most respected and notable motoring titles.

Autocar’s Editor-in-Chief, Steve Cropley and Road Test Editor, Matt Prior, Editor, Dan Trent as well as Autocar Contributing Editor and overall curator, Richard Bremner came together to compile the list of contenders, which then went to a public vote.

The final top 10 features some of the most iconic and desired cars of the last four decades. The Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution 1 finished as a worthy runner up to the 205 GTi, while the most recognised Ford Escort of all time – the RS Cosworth from the mid-1990s – completed a prestigious podium.

The final top ten (all of which will be on display at Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show):

  1. Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6
  2. Lancia Delta HF Integrale
  3. Ford Escort RS Cosworth
  4. VW Golf GTi Mk1
  5. Renault Clio Williams
  6. Renault Clio 182 Trophy
  7. VW Golf GTi Mk2
  8. Renault 5 GT Turbo
  9. Ford Focus RS Mk1
  10. Talbot Lotus Sunbeam

Hot Hatch Nirvana curator Richard Bremner said of the winner: “The Peugeot 205 GTi was unbeatable for its sheer rev-happy, go-hard verve and subtly perfect styling. Lightning-quick gearshifts, urgent power delivery, blade-sharp steering and deliciously driftable handling made the 205 an overnight hot hatch king. And it was practical, too. For many it has never been bettered as its victory in this Pistonheads and Autocar readers’ vote confirms.”

Mark Pickles, Peugeot UK Marketing Director, commented: “Peugeot is blessed to have a rich and extensive history, with a portfolio of iconic cars. They remain accessible and true to our values of motion and emotion. The 205 GTi was launched in 1985 and the enthusiastic following it has enjoyed ever since still influences the affection for the brand, most notably with the GT and GTi models we offer in our current line-up. The selection and reader survey to find the ‘Greatest Ever Hot Hatch’, announced at the Performance Car Show has showed the Peugeot 205 GTi to be the overwhelming winner, and we couldn’t be more delighted.”

As well as a top ten of public-voted hot hatches, visitors to Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show can also see a display called Evolution of the Hot Hatch, which will feature 10 hot hatches that have defined the genre for more than the last forty years. The display will take visitors on a wonderful journey, covering all of the key hot hatches that have moved the game on time-after-time. One of the latest models displayed, fittingly, is the 308 GTi by PEUGEOT SPORT.


Since 1810 PEUGEOT has been producing durable products of excellence, since 1858 all are branded with the Lion logo – chosen to demonstrate strength, suppleness and swiftness to personify the durability of its products. As one of the earliest automotive producers, the PEUGEOT brand can trace its roots back to 1889 when it began producing automobiles and since then over 65 million vehicles have been produced, advancing technology with style and efficiency to enhance the customer experience. Demonstrated through its Brand signature ‘Motion & Emotion’, PEUGEOT is present in 160 countries, has 10,000 franchised Dealerships and is recognised the world over for the quality and design excellence of its products.


The UK is the third largest market for PEUGEOT with its UK Headquarters located in Coventry. The UK car line-up includes the 108, 208, 308, 508, 2008, 3008 and 5008 supplemented by people-carriers and a four-model van range that includes the Bipper, Partner, Expert and Boxer.

205 GTi

GTi: three letters that symbolise an entire niche of cars and among them one of PEUGEOT’s most famous models ever. Short for Grand Tourer Injection, GTi has become a virtual acronym for the hot hatch.

The 205 GTi was launched in 1984 and helped make the PEUGEOT brand synonymous with the hot hatch movement of the mid-1980s. Offered with 1.6 and 1.9-litre engines – the latter of which developed 130bhp from 1987 onwards – and weighed just 850kg, the 205 GTi offered sports-car rivalling pace coupled with the practicality and versatility of a small family car.

The performance version of the popular 205 (5,278,050 were produced), the ‘pocket-rocket’ attracted a very strong and enthusiastic following that led to 294,514 being made between 1985 and 1994. Some 62,226 of them found customers in the UK. Produced in both 1.6 and 1.9-litre versions, the 205 GTi road car drew plenty of critical acclaim for its driving experience, engaging handling and affordable smiles-per-mile.

As well as being a monumental sales success, the 205 GTi was also highly credited in the motor sport world, in the guise of the awesome and accomplished 205 T16 – the first mid-engined hatchback, which convincingly won the 1985 and 1986 World Rally Championship and then the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1987 and 1988.