In what might become a regular feature I’m checking the classifieds for hot hatch bargains. This month the budget is £10k, which should open up quite a few possibilities. So what can you get for your money?
The MkVI GTI is too new to be anywhere near this price range, but the excellent Mk5 GTI is available for under £10k. Look around and you should be able to find ’56 plate cars with the optional DSG transmission and under 50,000 on the clock, or if you prefer manual you might be able to find an ’07 model at this budget. Don’t forget that xenons aren’t standard on the GTI and leather can add a bit to the price. Better to go for the tartan cloth seats and get a newer or lower mileage car. There are loads of GTIs out there so keep looking and you’ll find one with the right spec at the right price.
Ford Focus ST
The Focus ST is another plentiful car but residuals aren’t as strong as the GTI. You should be able to get a ’57 plate with around 30k in ST-2 spec, while the ST-3 spec (with leather Recaros and upgraded stereo) won’t cost you that much more. The ST-2 offers better value for money and seems to be more plentiful, with Carsource showing far more than the ST-3, while the cheapest ST-1 model is almost impossible to find.
Seat Leon Cupra
The Leon Cupra is not a common sight on the roads, so findng a second hand one can be difficult. But they are out there and offer better value and performance than their cousin, the Golf GTI. Look for a 2007 car and expect to get more kit than the Golf, but that DSG gearbox is more difficult to come by.
Like the Leon Cupra, the Renaultsport Megane is scarce. It’s also highly regarded by hot hatch fans thanks to the excellent handling so values remain strong. You should be able to find a 2006 car, but if you look hard enough you might be able to get your hands on a limited edition R26 F1, built to commemorate Renault’s success in Formula 1.
BMW 130i M Sport
Thanks to Daran for the tip on this one. Unbelievably you can pick up a BMW 130i M Sport for under £10k. There aren’t many out there, but look far enough and they can be found. Typically you’ll get a 2005 model that’s covered around 50k miles, but you’re getting a lot of car for the money – 265bhp, rear-wheel drive, an excellent chassis and creamy six-cylinder soundtrack. Check the spec, it might not be as generously equipped as other the cars here, but that engine is all you need. I actually found one on Teletextcars for under £9,000 with under 60,000 miles on the clock.
There are other cars you could look for – the Astra VXR is one, but it’s not the most refined choice here, while the Mazda 3 MPS is worth a look if you can live with the dull image. You could also look for an old shape Audi S3, but you’re not going to get much younger than a 2003 model thanks to Audi’s over-inflated residuals.