Lancia previews Ypsilon HF hot hatch and confirms rallying return

1 month, 3 weeks ago - 28 May 2024, autocar
Lancia Ypsilon HF
Lancia Ypsilon HF
New 237bhp electric hot hatch will be used as basis for combustion-powered Rally4 competition car

Lancia will revive the legendary HF badge next year for an electric hot hatch based on the new Ypsilon – and which will also be used for a return to international rallying.

The Italian brand has confirmed that it will return to off-road competition with a new combustion-engined Rally 4 challenger based on the Ypsilon HF in 2025, and has also released the first image of the new road-going electric hot hatch.

The Ypsilon HF will put out 237bhp, suggesting that it will use the same front-mounted motor as sibling brand Abarth’s 600e. It will also get a lower, wider suspension set-up than the regular Ypsilon hatch, and will dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in 5.8sec, Lancia said.

Notably, that is quicker than the last HF-badged Lancia, the second-generation Delta HPE HF, which cracked 62mph in 7.5sec. It is, however, slightly behind the legendary Delta HF Integrale Evo 2, which did the same sprint in 5.7sec.

The new HF badge is a mix of the 1960s original – with the elephant mascot painted in the same shade of red used on the 1966 Fulvia Coupé HF – and that used through the 1990s, with italicised ‘HF’ script.

The branding first appeared at the 1960 Geneva motor show as the marker for a band of loyal Lancia owners – the ‘Hi-Fi club’ – who had purchased at least six new cars from the Italian marque.

Three years later, it was adopted by the HF Lancia Racing Team and subsequently went on to represent the brand’s many successes in the World Rally Championship.

Lancia claimed 10 World Rally Championship constructors' titles and 73 event wins during its time in top-flight rallying, notably developing dominant cars across several different eras of competition. Those cars including the fabled Stratos from the late 1970s, the awesome Group B 037 and Delta challengers, and the all-wheel-drive Delta that dominated the early days of the Group A era.

However, Lancia won’t return directly to the top-flight of the World Rally Championship. Instead it will return with the Ypsilon Rally 4 HF, suggesting it will run in the two-wheel-drive Rally 4 class for customer machines.

The rallying Ypsilon will also trade the EV powertrain of the road version for a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder combustion engine that produces 215bhp. It will also use a five-speed mechanical transmission and feature a mechanical limited-slip differential.

The specifications on the car mean that it is almost certainly twinned with the Peugeot 208 Rally4 and the Opel Corsa Rally4 that are produced by Lancia’s sister brands within Stellantis. Both those machines share a platform, engine, gearbox and suspension parts.

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