Performance cars come in many different forms - some models are purpose built to raise the bar, others join an already established range and both are just as popular on a personal lease and a business lease. They bring extra levels of power, acceleration and handling over the usual commuter type cars and are best suited for the great British back-roads. One of the most popular subcategory of performance cars here in the UK are hot hatchbacks, for decades we've sought after smaller exciting cars due to the slimmer size of our roads compared to the likes of Germany or America. You'll almost exclusively see the upper-echelon of performance cars out on a race track, where drivers can make the most of their cars (and their own) capability.
Performance cars are typically produced by a manufacturers respective performance division, whereas those that don't have their own in-house tuning arm can reap the rewards by sharing the same parts if owned by the same group, such as Skoda sharing many parts from members of the Volkswagen-Audi group for the popular Skoda Octavia VRS or SEAT Leon Cupra. Below, we have listed some of the main categories of performance cars to give a clearer indication of what is available to you.
The majority of the Audi range feature 'S' models, it's essentially a more race-ready, soused up version with sportier styling and suede sports seats. Due to its small size, the S1 really is a little pocket rocket. However, you currently can't order a new S1 as the A1 Sportback has just had a brand new model released for 2019. There hasn't been any reveal of an S1 yet either, however the range-topping engine of the new A1 actually uses the Polo GTI engine!
Click here to find our how much an Audi S1 Lease would cost.
Hyundai weren't typically associated with fast cars until Albert Biermann (the man behind BMW's M division) took charge of their new 'N' performance arm, with the Hyundai i30N being the first model produced wearing the N badge. While some struggle to look past the badge, what hides behind the curtain is a hot hatch with a strong pedigree - Hyundai have taken the core principles of what a hot hatch should be and have produced a car that does the basics incredibly well.
Click here to see more information on a Hyundai i30 N Lease.
When you hear the term hot hatchback, chances are the first car that pops into your mind is the Volkswagen Golf GTI. That's because it's one of the longest standing marques as well as being seen as one of the original hot hatches. Popular for its ample level of performance and agility, the Golf GTI is so famous because it's also one of the most affordable yet practical daily driver out of the bunch. Currently on its 7th generation model, the eighth return of the Volkswagen Golf is set to arrive roughly midway through 2019.
You can find out how much a Golf GTI Lease costs here.
One of the newer models to don the GTI badge, the Polo GTI has had a recent face-lift and now uses the same engine (albeit de-tuned) as the current Golf GTI, a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine offering a 0-62mph of 6.7 seconds.
These days, the higher end manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi are producing even faster hatchbacks, dubbed 'hyper hatches'. Needless to say, the price point on these cars has managed to creep towards the same region as a BMW 'M' car.
The release of the new 2019 A-Class has taken the market by storm, it's one of the most technologically advanced hatchbacks on the market and directly rivals the Audi A3 Sportback. Previously, the soused up version of the A-Class was name the 'A35 AMG Lease', however due to how popular the Audi S3 is, Mercedes are set to rival the popular hot hatch with their very own 'A35 AMG'.
The Audi RS3 is well on record of being quite possibly the very best hatchback money can buy. Additionally available in Saloon guise, Audi must constantly battle the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW to keep their flagship hatch crowned king.
While BMW's soused up 1 Series isn't the fastest hatchback available on the market, it is the only rear-wheel drive model. The handling of the BMW M140i is far superior to any other hatchback and the sound of its 6-cylinder engine certainly makes it sound the sportiest of the lot.
Due to the need of everyday practicality, the majority of performance cars sit in the Saloon/Coupe body categories, however, it's rare for a Super Saloon to be purpose built, they're typically faster versions of already existing models for those that have a model they like but just want the range-topping engine & trim.
The Giulia is one of the more uncommon Saloon cars out there, but that doesn't mean it's nowhere near as good as its German rivals. In fact, the high performance 'Quadrifoglio' variant of the Giulia Saloon has won an award from Whatcar for being the best overall sports car of 2018 and is currently Alfa Romeos' fastest accelerating car.
Korean car manufacturer Kia surprised the motor industry when the final product of their Stinger project was unveiled. Sporting a 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo petrol engine with 365 bhp, the Stinger leans more towards being a Gran Tourer that you can live with everyday, rather than a fully focused performance car.
In traditional Mercedes fashion, the C63 is one of the more brutish super saloons. Their "The Best or Nothing" slogan shines true with their latest set of C63 models, featuring a revised interior and new 4-litre V8 twin turbo petrol engine. Available in Saloon, Coupe, Estate & Cabriolet guise, the desirable C63 AMG has a model for all needs and preferences.
The latest generation BMW M5 has dramatically changed compared to previous versions. Using a newly developed four-wheel drive system and a 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo petrol engine sporting 591 bhp, the M5 achieves a blindingly fast 0-62 mph time of 3.4 seconds. You can check out our latest rates on the BMW M5 Saloon by clicking here.
The S4 is the soused-up variant of the popular A4 executive saloon. It's top of the range, second to the full-fat RS4 high performance model which is only available as an estate, however the S4 is available in either Saloon or Estate guise. Its understated looks make the S4 a bit of a 'sleeper' car, having the performance capability for when you need it whilst blending into the background in the meantime.
Subaru haven't changed their recipe for decades, so it should come as no surprise to you that the latest WRX STI uses a flat four-cylinder boxer engine and four-wheel drive. Subaru recently announced that this would be the last edition of the brands flagship model, with only 150 being brought to the UK.
While not quite as practical as everyday Saloons, Coupes certainly outweigh this con by their charming looks and sportier handling. You'll also often see convertible variants of these models offered by manufacturers for those that want some open-top thrills to go with the exciting drive.
The TT is the go-to model if you're after a stylish daily driver with great handling, but don't quite need the same level of practicality as your typical family hatchback. The modern interior is much more comfortable than competitors, though it's well on record that Audi produce fantastic interiors. The TTS & TTRS models are the high performance variants of the standard Audi TT, they come with a sports suspension, powerful engine and louder exhaust. You can get the TTS in either Coupe or Roadster form.
The standard A5 Coupe/Sportback has already been given an incredible face-lift, so for Audi to take this a step further by offering a high performance option really puts a smile on our face. The S5 model sports a refined 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with 354 brake horsepower, capable of 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds! Very respectable numbers for a car of its size. S5 models are available in Coupe, Sportback & Convertible guise, whereas the even faster RS5 version is only available as a Coupe.
The M2 is the entry-level model of BMW's range of high performance 'M' cars, but by no means is it any less calibre than the rest. Being the full-fat performance variant of the popular 2 Series Coupe, the M2 uses a 3-litre straight six petrol engine with 410 brake horsepower. Unlike most performance models, the M2 is also available with a manual gearbox, perfect for the purists.
Dubbed by some as a 'baby M2', the M240i is the most powerful model under the 2 Series banner. There are minor styling changes to the M-Sport body-kit and the wing mirrors are painted silver. As for performance, the M240i features uprated brakes, eight speed automatic gearbox (optional!) and a throaty 3.0-litre inline 6 petrol engine most notably shared with the popular BMW M140i.
The M4 is one of the models frequently used by BMW as their poster boy. It's available as both a Coupe & Convertible and is often used by the games industry to market their new releases. Over the standard 4 series, M4 models feature a quad exhaust, 3-litre petrol engine, uprated brakes and minor styling changes to the M-Sport bodykit.
Also known as 'Godzilla', the Nissan GTR is one of the few cars capable of besting Supercars. With a blistering 0-62 time of just 2.8 seconds, the GTR offers serious performance for a fraction of the price of other cars of a similar calibre.
Speculation says the CLA is going to be replaced by the new A Class Saloon, however the CLA is indeed set to remain as Mercedes' entry-level coupe. The CLA45 model uses many of the same internals as the previous A45 AMG Hatchback, featuring an intelligent four-wheel drive system to achieve faster acceleration and grip.
While traditionally made to cruise around in complete luxury, SUV's can be made into surpsingly agile beasts. There aren't a whole lot to choose from given how niche demand is (mainly due to the price-point).
Alfa aren't typically associated with SUV's, however since their recent success with the new Stelvio model, it was only a matter of time before a performance variant was released. Rocking similar stats to the Giulia Quadrifolgio, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio uses the same engine and has incredible handling for a car of its size.
The SQ7 is one of the rare few performance models that uses a diesel engine. It's the largest model in the entire Audi range, but unlike most Audi models there is no RS variant of the Q7. As far as high-end SUV's go, the SQ7 offers a very luxurious interior and comfortable yet somewhat firm ride.
Sitting in the upper tier of Audi's range of SUV's, the SQ5 is the soused up variant of the standard Q5. It uses a 3-litre V6 petrol engine used in the S5. It's all-wheel drive as per Audi tradition and comes with an eight speed automatic gearbox as standard.
SVR stands for 'Special Vehicle Racing'. SVR models are the full-fat performance variants of select Jaguar/Land Rover vehicles and have a degree of exclusivity around them, mainly due to the price-point. The Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest vehicle of the entire Land Rover range, using a 542 bhp, 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine (with a very loud exhaust!).