What you’d always find is a wonderfully interactive driving experience, with great steering feel and an underlying chassis balance that lets the rear join in the fun if you so wish. Its issue lies with the engine, which can feel a little flat, and the fact that the Honda Civic Type R just drives harder, faster and with even more engagement – although admittedly that now comes at quite a price premium. 

It’s the steering, chassis, brakes and interior spec that set the i30 N aside, though; in all these respects it’s right up there with the very best. And for just over £35,000, it’s also exceptionally well specified inside, making it great value for money.

It features myriad customisable settings accessible through its eight-inch touchscreen, including an electronically adjustable limited-slip diff, adaptive dampers, a switchable exhaust and even rev-matching. 

3. Mercedes-AMG A 45 S

Mercedes and Audi have been quarrelling over the title of the ultimate hyper-hatchback for two generations now, but while the recently updated A 45 S has the previous RS 3 to go up against, for now it has the class to itself. 

The Merc still has one of the most powerful mass-produced four-cylinder engines ever fitted in a hot hatch; the 416bhp 2.0-litre unit runs hot, with three cooling systems, including assistance from the cabin’s air-con system. This makes the A 45 a highly strung beast, but then its chassis isn’t any different, with a fantastically fluid feel to the suspension and playful all-wheel drive system. There’s still something to be desired when it comes to feel, but we can’t argue that it’s not impressive, and it remains a brilliant hot hatch.

2. Hyundai i20 N

The supermini hot-hatch class might be shrinking, but Hyundai’s first and likely last offering is the brilliant i20 N. This car is all about pure enjoyment, from the aggressive engine to the playful chassis balance. Its extroverted driving experience is mirrored by the styling and interior. 

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