Putting together a hot hatchback. Easy, right? Take something small and sensible, and an engine that’s a bit too big and powerful for it. One ginormous shoehorn later, you have a pent-up little performance car that’s able to bloody the noses of things rarer and more exotic on a tight piece of road.
At least that’s how it used to be, back when VW was first signing off the original Golf GTI in the Seventies. But things have changed, and each of the diverse bunch that’s qualified for Top Gear’s 2016 Speed Week – three of which we’re driving down to Austria’s Red Bull Ring the elongated, 1,200-mile way – goes about its business quite differently. The fourth? We’ll get to that in a bit.
Photography: Mark Fagelson
This feature was originally published in issue 288 of Top Gear magazine