Lancia Returns To Rallying With Its First New Hot Hatch In Decades, And It Looks Awesome

Despite being what the company has become best known for, it’s been decades since Lancia last produced a true hot hatch — not exactly surprising given it’s only sold one car for the past decade anyway. That’s finally changing next year with the roadgoing Ypsilon HF, a fully electric performance version of Lancia’s funky new hatchback, and the HF is spawning a racing version that will compete in the Rally4 class.

Lancia hasn’t announced many details or photos about the Ypsilon HF yet, as it won’t be hitting the market until May 2025, but from what we can see it looks awesome. The front-wheel-drive Ypsilon HF will make 240 horsepower, nearly 100 more than the standard car, which is enough for it to hit 62 mph in 5.8 seconds. Additional performance enhancements will include a lowered suspension and larger, wider wheels; expect other tweaks to the steering, brakes and other components.

This is the roadgoing Ypsilon HF
Photo: Lancia

The HF really looks the part too, with awesome three-spoke wheels, wider fender flares, larger intakes and a bunch of black trim. On the inside, there are bright blue seats with red perforations and a diagonal motif, plus lots of HF emblems and badges.

It’s great to see that HF branding make a comeback, especially as the elephant logo is one of the cutest and greatest in automotive history. It first appeared in 1960, all thanks to a club of passionate owners. Says Lancia:

Returning to stand out on the Lancia Ypsilon HF, the HF logo is the historic signature of high-performance Lancia models, originally introduced during the 1960 Geneva Motor Show, when a group of passionate Lancia car owners founded the “Lancia Hi-Fi” (‘High Fidelity’) club, an exclusive meeting point for the brand’s most loyal customers and especially for people who had purchased at least six new Lancia cars. The HF logo then became a hallmark of the HF Squadra Corse Lancia, founded in 1963 by Cesare Fiorio together with drivers and passionate owners of Lancia cars, and was used as the ‘signature’ for many of the brand’s victories.

The historic logo was made up of HF in white capital letters on a black background, with four red running elephants underscored by the wording “SQUADRA CORSE” in white on red. The little elephant was chosen as a lucky charm, based on the legend that once let loose, these creatures are unstoppable, making them a symbol of performance and driving pleasure. Unveiled in March in its revisited version, the new HF logo reinterprets its historical counterpart with a contemporary flair: all the constituent elements of the brand symbolize Lancia tradition and are now simplified in terms of lines and shapes in a new balance that expresses innovation, premiumness, and the Italian spirit, with a touch of eclecticism in full respect of the brand’s unmistakable geometries.

As for the rally version of the Ypsilon HF, it shares its platform and powertrain with the Opel Corsa and Peugeot 208 rally cars. Rally4 is the entry-level class in rally racing, featuring homologated two-wheel-drive cars that have a power-t0-weight ratio of 5.1 kg per horsepower. The Rally4 Ypsilon HF has a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, which in the Opel makes 212 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 5-speed sequential gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip diff.

Rear 3/4 view of a Lancia Ypsilon HF Rally4

Photo: Lancia

Lancia presented the Ypsilon HF Rally4 in its iconic Martini livery, and the rally car gets a rad set of wheels, big hood vents and a roof scoop. Interestingly, the bumper design and some other styling details don’t exactly match the road car, but that could change by the time the car enters competition. Lancia says the Ypsilon HF Rally4 is “the ideal solution for all rally enthusiasts to enjoy but is also a serious candidate for drivers aspiring to victory in the R4 class and in the two-wheel drive championships.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lancia come out with versions of the Ypsilon to compete in some of the higher rally classes, but the company could do it with other cars too: Over the next few years, Lancia will unveil a Gamma flagship crossover as well as a new Delta, both of which will feature electric powertrains and surely get HF variants. The thought of a car named Lancia Delta competing in rallying has my heart aflutter.

Front bumper of a Lancia Ypsilon HF

Photo: Lancia

Interior of a Lancia Ypsilon HF

Photo: Lancia

Front seats of a Lancia Ypsilon HF

Photo: Lancia

Front view of a Lancia Ypsilon HF Rally4

Photo: Lancia

Front 3/4 view of a Lancia Ypsilon HF Rally4

Photo: Lancia

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