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Top 10 Mid-Engined Hatchback

Friday, January 2, 2009

Number 1:Volkswagen GTI W12 650 Concept VW Golf GTI W12 with the rear seats ripped out and replaced by a twin-turbo, six-liter W12, driving a whopping 650 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque through a faux-paddle-shifted six-speed automatic to the rear wheels.

Number 2:Metro 6R4 Group B rally car
Developed by Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the Metro 6R4 bore only a passing resemblance to the staid budget hatch on which it was ostensibly based. It alternatively wore Austin, Rover or MG badges under the British Leyland umbrella, and drove up to 380 horsepower from its mid-mounted 3-liter DOHC quattrovalve V6 to all four wheels. The engine was so advanced that it ended up, in twin-turbo form, powering the Jaguar XJ220 supercar

Number 3: Renault Clio V6
The 3-liter V6 drove 252hp to the rear wheels, which propelled the Clio V6 to sixty in 5.9 seconds. Poor power-to-weight meant that the mid-engined version wasn't much faster than the more conventional Clio 172 Cup on which it was based, but the bottom line is that the Clio V6 is the only one here that was actually offered commercially. And that's why we love it.

Number 4:Sbarro Ferrari Super 8
Sbarro started with a Ferrari 308 GTB, with a shortened frame and custom bodywork. The standard 3-liter 260hp V8 drove through a five-speed manual to...you guessed it...the rear wheels. Only one example was said to have been built, in follow up to the Super Twelve that was powered by two Kawasaki 6-cylinder motorbike engines

Number 5: Ford Festiva Shogun
The perfect car, then, to turn into an exotic, and hot-rodders Chuck Beck and Rick Titus did exactly that. Replacing the standard four-banger, Beck and Titus took the Yamaha-developed 3-liter V6 from the Ford Taurus SHO and dropped it behind the front seats. The requisite chassis mods followed, and hilarity ensued. The car could hit 60 in 4.6 seconds, cover the quarter mile in 12.9 and reach 1g of lateral acceleration. Only seven examples were made, each of them in a different color.

Number 6:Renault Megane Trophy Concept
The French automaker, indisputable king of the mid-engined hatch, said the car was capable of lapping the track about as fast as a Porsche 911 GT3, which is quite a benchmark. Based on the new Megane III, the Trophy featured a 3.5-liter Nissan-sourced V6 driving 360 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential.

Number 7:Nissan Micra R
Nissan picked up the torch in 2004 with the Micra R concept, packing a 265hp race-spec engine in the trunk that could propel the one-off to sixty mph in under five seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 150 mph

Number 8:Toyota Aygo Crazy
The car essentially crossed a micro-hatch with an MR2, placing a turbocharged 1.8-liter four in the back, surrounded by a roll cage, but no power brakes, power steering, traction control or ABS. 197 horsepower in a 1000kg package was good enough for a spring to sixty in less than six seconds

Number 9:MTM Audi TT Bimoto
Audi was built by an aftermarket tuner. And instead of moving the front engine on the standard model to the back, MTM opted to supplement it with a second engine. The pair of 1.8-liter turbo fours drove 505 horsepower through a pair of six-speed manuals to all four wheels, propelling the special TT to a Nardo speed record of 245 mph, hitting sixty in 3.1 seconds along the way.

Number 10:Matra Murena
The Murena featured three-across seating, the seats were arrayed in a bench with conventional offset steering and a middle seat that folded flat into an arm-rest. In an odd twist, Renault would end up building a one-off mid-engined concept based on the Espace years later with the 820hp V10 from the Williams-Renault F1 car, which warrants honorable mention at the end of our list.

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