Car pictures of the week
In this week’s car pictures we look at the highlights from our middle-weight hot hatch test in issue 290
The hot hatch scene is more competitive than ever, so with so many options to choose between, picking out the ones worth pursuing is a tricky task. To establish what’s what of 2021’s spread, we’ve gathered the best new models for a three-round mega test, with this final heat from issue 290 features bringing the middle-weight contenders together to battle it out for a place in the final.
Our shortlist included the Cupra Leon 300, Renault Megane RS, updated Hyundai i30 N, BMW 128ti and Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport. Each of these all offer similar price points, power figures and performance, while striking a balance between being usable, as well as brilliant to drive.
Coming from the same VAG family, Cupra’s Leon and the GTI Clubsport both feature the group’s 2-litre EA888 four-cylinder, producing matching outputs of 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Though you’d be forgiven for assuming these similarities equate to identical driving experiences, our test proved otherwise.
A refreshing departure from this lineup’s uninspiring hues, the new i30 N is finished in the brand’s trademark Performance blue paint, with a handful of design elements referencing the firm’s rally cars. Despite this motorsport connection, upon its arrival back in 2017 it was considered an underdog, but quickly shored up its talents and quickly drew praise. With the update for 2021, Hyundai’s honed some of its rough edges, making it not just a contender in this heat, but for the whole mega test.
From France, and the now defunct Renaultsport department, we find the recently updated Megane RS 300 to also be improved, despite losing its manual transmission. It’s powered by the same 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder you’ll find in Alpine’s excellent A110 in a 296bhp state of tune, with 310lb ft the highest torque figure of the lineup.
Finally, BMW’s skunkworks 128ti occupies the final spot. Having failed to impress us in M135i form, this lighter and more focused front-wheel drive offering was designed quietly by a subset of BMW’s engineers to get the most from its inherently impressive chassis with just two driven wheels. Powered BMW’s B48 four-cylinder, it may produce the lowest power figure of the bunch at 261bhp, yet with a table-top of torque from essentially idle, it’s certainly not the slowest car of our grouping in the real world.
So which of these triumphed? To read Henry Catchpole’s test in full, pick up your copy of issue 290 online now via the new evo shop, or subscribe to get the finale delivered straight to your door!
Car pictures of the week: archive
Below are some of our favourite images from previous editions of evo car pictures of the week. Click on the pictures for the full galleries.
Click below to see all the images of our first car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring the indomitable Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and the stunning Porsche 911 re-imagined by Singer.
Here we dig further back into the evo archives where we pull out some iconic images of the Ford GT slightly out of context in the European Alps, a TVR Sagaris in central London, the Audi RS2 as well as one of our most iconic twin tests between the Ferrari 599 GTO and Lexus LF-A.
The previous-generation Bentley Continental GT seemed to get better with age, a notion mirrored by the Jaguar E-type when in modern ‘lightweight’ form. Both of these British icons, as well as the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 feature in gallery three.
Fans might have cried fowl when Ferrari decided to turbocharge the Ferrari 488, but it’s not like Ferrari don’t have a history with turbocharged V8 engines. Here the 488 co-stars alongside the stunning F40, while elsewhere in this gallery we take a Porsche Cayman GTS to Japan for a stunning mountain blast.
Italian twelve-cylinder supercars seem to be the main agenda in the fourth evo car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring four V12 Lambos and the stunning 599 SA Aperta limited edition alongside its 550 Barchetta predecessor.
A gallery of new and old, here the McLaren 720S cemented its place as a truly great supercar alongside a daring night shoot with an Audi R8 LMX, pitch a Nissan GT-R and Audi Quattro against each other on Welsh mountain roads and drive the original 'Hakosuka' GT-R.
Ford's RS200 in a moody dark garage is just one of many amazing shoots in our 8th gallery, click on the image for the full gallery
Click on the image below for our ninth car pictures of the week gallery, including this hardcore lot!
Our tenth gallery turned it up another notch, including the wettest shoot in history (apparently).
The best hardcore Ferrari supercars and more feature in our 11th car pictures of the week gallery.