THE Peugeot 205 GTi has been voted the greatest hot hatch of all time ahead of cars such as the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The French pocket-rocket became a favourite in the 1980s and 90s and carved out a niche as the little hatch with true sports car performance.
Launched in 1984, the GTi - it stands for Grand Tourer Injection - was offered with 1.6 and 1.9-litre engines with power up to 130bhp.
In a lightweight body, it tipped the scales at just 850kg, the 205 GTi could accelerate from 0 to 60 in a shade over 7.5 seconds.
Its go-kart like handling and all-round agility gained it many friends and of the 294,514 made between 1985 and 1994 some 62,000 were sold in Britain.
The car won the World Rally Championship in 1985 and 1986 and went on to take victory in the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally in 1987 and 1988.
It grabbed the hot hatch accolade following a global poll staged to mark the opening of this year's Performance Car Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Second slot was taken by the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution which was followed by the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the Mk1 VW Golf GTI.
Also listed in the top ten were the Renault Clio Williams and the Renault 5 GT Turbo, Ford's original Focus RS and the Talbot Lotus Sunbeam.
Richard Bremner, curator of Hot Hatch Nirvana which helped organise the poll, said: "The Peugeot 205 GTi was unbeatable for its sheer rev-happy, go-hard verve and subtly perfect styling.
"Lightning-quick gearshifts, urgent power delivery, blade-sharp steering and deliciously driftable handling made the 205 an overnight hot hatch king. And it was practical, too. For many it has never been bettered."