Auto Express pits the R56 MCS against the best that Renault, Ford and VW have to offer on some of the UKs twistiest roads.

>Competition in the hot hatch market has reached boiling point — and there’s no better way to find out if the MINI can take the lead in the pocket rocket race than to square it up against Renault’s thrilling Clio 197. Taut, muscular and with carefully honed suspension, it’s more mature than before, but hasn’t lost its sense of fun.

>That’s not all, though. Hot hatch buyers are spoilt for choice, so we stepped up a class in our search for the best. The Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI will test every aspect of the MINI’s performance. So which is the best hot hatch money can buy? Read our 24-hour shoot-out for the answer.

Of course, the MINI took the number 1 spot.

>The clever thing about the MINI is how accessible it is for all drivers. Its immediacy means it’s thrilling at all speeds, yet unlike the challenging Renault, it’s never intimidating — just a huge helping of fun

[ Road to Glory ]

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