With the Renault Twingo GT and Volkswagen Up GTI on the way, we look at some of our favourite pocket rockets
6 June 2016

The upcoming Renault Twingo GT and Volkswagen Up GTI are set to enter the extremely niche market of hot city cars.

It may not be a mainstream sector that pushes sales through the roof for manufacturers, but over the years it has thrown out some memorable bite-sized gems.

We've put together some of the best warmed-up city cars that we've seen in the UK.

Volkswagen Lupo GTI

In production from 2000 to 2005, the Lupo GTI produced 123bhp from its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. Torque peaked at 112lb ft, helping the 1015kg hatch to sprint from 0-60mph in 8.0sec.

While the original model went out of production in 2005, there was talk in 2010 that the Up would be sold as the Lupo, but that wasn't the case. There are now currently just 702 Lupo GTIs on the road across the UK.

Our Verdict

Renault Twingo

Will Renault storm the market with its unconventional rear-engined city car, or do more mainstream alternatives do a better job?

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Renault Twingo RS 133

The new Twingo GT won't match this past effort from Renaultsport in terms of power. The Twingo RS had 131bhp and, despite being the cheapest, slowest member of the Renaultsport family, was every bit as deserving of its place as a hot Clio or Mégane.

Sure, it has a dowdy interior and dodgy refinement, but it is riotously fun to drive, largely thanks to its agile chassis.

Smart Fortwo Brabus

Launched in 2007, the Smart Fortwo Brabus featured a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine producing a respectable 97bhp and 103lb ft of torque, while weighing in at a slight 790kg. This weight also contributes in its sprightly 0-62mph time of 9.9sec.

It isn't too shabby on fuel economy, either. Its claimed average is 55mpg.

Abarth 595

The only model on our list that’s also available in convertible guise. It's part of a range, but the most potent model of the lot is the 178bhp 595 Competizione variant.

Based on the Fiat 500, the 595 gets some sporty styling cues, alongside a turbocharged 1.4-litre T-Jet engine, as well as a freer-flowing Record Monza exhaust system.

Fiat Panda 100hp

Okay, so this one’s a little more ‘lukewarm’ than ‘hot’, but it’s still a fun little city car running 99bhp.

The car features a tweaked version of the Grande Punto’s 1.4-litre engine. And even with the increased power, Fiat claims a respectable 43mpg to boot. It is a city car, after all.

Danni Bagnall

What's your favourite hot city car? Let us know in the comments below.

Join the debate


6 June 2016
Well I'm certain that it was not, but I recall that car was also dubbed as the true successor to the original Golf. I guess that everyone's favorite mini hot hatch has to be the Peugeot 205GTi. It's a pity that nothing modern quite replicates it (though I daresay they are a bit safer!). Or how about the Daihatsu Charade GTTi? Now the Up's got to go some to beat that...

6 June 2016
Best hot city car right now...the one i've just ordered. BMW i3 for £250/month and £1600 deposit on a 2 year lease. Perfect hot city car...

6 June 2016
I am not sure Peugeot would have called the 106 a city car when it being made but its small enough. In GTI form is was very impressive, and for handling even more bonkers as a Rallye. I doubt the suspension boffins at PSA could make the 108 that good, but i would love them to try, and sticking a turbo on the 1.2 the normal 108 has gives an easy 130 bhp in other PSA cars so power should be no problem. I would love to see this become a competitive market sector, these things can be so much fun at relatively normal road speeds.

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