Performance cars - 2

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Renault Mgane Renaultsport 250 vs Volkswagen Scirocco R
Price from 21,995 and 26,945
On sale Jan
What is it? The hottest versions yet of these respective models

Lairy and scary are two words you could use to describe two of the hottest prospects to head to UK shores in the coming few weeks. Then you could add fiery, feisty even fierce theyre the Renault Mgane Renaultsport 250 (Cup) and VW Scirocco R.

Although the two cars are pretty similar in many ways, theyre quite different in the way they look. While the Scirocco looks cool, even a little unassuming, the Mgane is more of a rip-snorter. Its not quite as brash as a Focus RS, but its close. The common ground is in the performance. Weve driven both cars and theyre fast, fun and agile.

The Mgane is a little down on power, a shade slower off the line, but a meaningless 1mph faster overall. Actually the 0-62mph time is also pretty useless as an indicator of how rapid these cars are from point to point, with both providing phenomenal performance along a twisty road.

The Scirocco may have the edge on the Mgane because its more refined for everyday driving. The Mgane is by no means bad, but its a bit more jittery, especially if you go for the Cup version, with its stiffer suspension.

So which should you buy? Well, if youre a petrolhead purist, youll probably want the Mgane, but if you do plenty of miles, the Scirocco will probably make you happier.

Honda Civic Type R Mugen
Price from 38,599
On sale Mid 2010
What is it? The most bonkers Type R that you can imagine

Nearly 40,000 for a Type R sounds like a lot, but just 20 Type R Mugens are being hand-built and tailored to each buyer (you can even get the engines computer tweaked to your liking), and all of them are coming to the UK such is our appetite for hot hatches.

Power is up by 20% to 238bhp, with a race-tuned engine that is worth about 19,000 alone, while weight is down by 20kg. Theres a shorter-throw six-speed gearbox, more focused suspension, high-performance brakes, lightweight aluminium wheels and a bigger rear spoiler.

If you want, you can spend even more to get the rear seats removed and replaced by a composite bulkhead. That will reduce the weight by a further 86kg.

Audi e-tron
Price from tbc
On sale 2012
What is it? A super-quick electric sports car (batteries included)

Not one, not two, but four electric motors make the e-tron extremely quick.

The mini-R8 takes a mere 4.8 seconds to get from 0-62mph, while the top speed is limited to 124mph presumably to help increase the cars range to 154 miles.

They might sound like fantasy figures for an electric car, but Teslas done it so why shouldnt Audi? Itll be pricey, though even with battery costs coming down,the car will need more lithium-ion batteries than a mobile phone factory.

Audi expects the car to be up and running in about two years, and is also developing a wireless charging system to recharge the e-tron in eight hours.

Renault Gordini
Price from 12,500 (est)
On sale Spring
What is it? Something old, something new and something blue (nothing borrowed)

Renault is reviving the sporty Gordini brand for its hot Twingo, Clio and Mgane Renaultsport cars from next spring.
It is hoping it can attract buyers with the famous blue and white sporting line in the same way Mini has done with Cooper and Fiat with Abarth.

Cars will be mechanically identical to standard Renaultsports, but with an entirely different look and feel. It is a pity the Gordinis wont be a bit lighter, stiffer or more powerful, but the standard Renaultsport cars are excellent, so the driving experience shouldnt disappoint. Final details are yet to be confirmed but, as well as a pack of extras, buyers will be able to personalise their Gordini a little.

Also on the way...
What and cars coming your way in 2010
Pagani Zonda replacement
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Seat Leon Cupra R
Skoda Fabia vRS
Vauxhall Astra VXR
Volkswagen Golf R 2010
Ferrari 458 Italia Spider 2011