What Car? Personal Shopper: hot hatch for £30,000

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BMW M140i

Buying used

  • Our recommended choice: 2018 BMW M140i  
  • Price: £29,995
  • Mileage: 6000
used bmw

It's not so much a hot hatch, this M140i, as a mega hatch, because its impressive power-to-weight ratio is strong enough to propel it from 0-62mph in just 4.6sec and on very quickly to a limited top speed of 155mph. 

But there’s even more to this unassuming-looking BMW than that. If a sports car should be able to deal with bends of all shapes and sizes at reasonable speed and with maximum driver enjoyment, the M140i’s got that licked, too. Its steering is smooth, accurate and quick, and gets quicker as you turn the wheel. There's lots of grip, and the handling is beautifully balanced, eager, rewarding and secure, despite the urge of all that power heading to the rear tyres. Above all else, it's tremendous fun.

This barely used example could be yours for the price of those new cars, making it an absolute bargain.

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Read our used BMW M140i review

  • Also consider: 2016 Audi S3
  • Price: £29,990
  • Mileage: 7800
used audi s3

This fast version of the Audi A3 Sportback packs all the great qualities of the standard family hatchback – its style, practicality and lovely interior – but has a 310bhp 2.0-litre engine that'll blow nearly all of its competitors into the weeds. It's four-wheel-drive, too, so it should be a more usable option for when the weather gets nasty. We found a two-year-old example for less than £30,000 that will show those new hot hatches a thing or two. 

View this car in the What Car? classifieds

Read our used Audi S3 review

  • Also consider: 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 
  • Price: £29,995
  • Mileage: 5
Used VW Golf

It may look for all the world like a lightly breathed-upon Golf hatchback, but the R has more punching power than Tyson Fury: 310bhp from its 2.0-litre engine. This 2018 example from a franchised dealer has only five miles on the clock, so it's new, to all intents. What you'll get is a comfortable and mega-swift car that can potter through town one minute and hammer round a track the next. 

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