Home » Italy’s Weirdest Brand Is Getting Back Into Rallying With A Pint-Sized Hot Hatch

Italy’s Weirdest Brand Is Getting Back Into Rallying With A Pint-Sized Hot Hatch

Lancia Hf Ypsilon Ts2
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The comeback tour of Lancia just can’t stop rocking. Merely months after showing the world the new Ypsilon, the marque’s unveiled a high-performance variant and turned it into a hot hatch that’s going rallying. Is it time to party like it’s 1985? Not quite, but the Ypsilon HF is still worth a gander.

Before we get into the awesome-looking Martini Racing-striped rally car in the photo at the top of this article, let’s talk a bit about the standard road car everyday people will actually be able to buy. Granted, not everyday Americans, as Lancia isn’t making it over here, but still.

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In Lancia-speak, HF stands for Hi-Fidelity, the name of the Lancia owners’ club back in the day. Models like the Fulvia HF and Delta HF added pace and aggression, and the new Ypsilon HF is doing the same. Up front, additional air intakes set into a trapezoidal frame create a bolder down-road graphic, while fender flares fill out the side profile. Add in the classic HF badge with the red elephant, and at first glance, this Lancia looks the business.

Lanciaypsilonhf

While the most iconic Lancia hot hatchbacks have been all-wheel-drive, the Ypsilon HF spins the front wheels only, and does so using an electric motor. With 237 horsepower and a claimed zero-to-62 mph time of 5.8 seconds, it sounds hot hatch quick, and it should get alright range out of its 58 kWh battery pack. Add in a wider track to fill out the aforementioned fender flares, and lowered suspension, and you get an interesting yet oddly familiar vehicle. See, the Ypsilon is built on Stellantis’ eCMF platform and makes the same power as its Abarth 600e cousin, so this electric hot hatch isn’t wildly new in the grand scheme of things.

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Lancia ypsilon rally4 hf

However, the rally car definitely won’t be electric. In fact, the Ypsilon Rally4 HF will be powered by a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine making 209 horsepower, 28 horsepower fewer than the electric street car. While that might seem puzzling at first glance, Rally4 cars are capped at a weight-to-power ratio of 5.1 kilograms per horsepower, and everyone has to play by the rules. Mind you, Rally4 cars also need to be homologated with at least 2,500 roadgoing units, so it’ll be interesting to see how Lancia fulfills that requirement.

Lancia ypsilon rally4 hf (1)

What’s more, Lancia has revealed that every upcoming model will be available in a high-performance HF variant, such as the Gamma and the Delta. A new Delta HF? Color us intrigued. After years of neglect, it’s exciting to see Lancia mounting a comeback with performance cars and motorsport, as one of rallying’s most iconic brands is set to blast through the forests once again.

(Photo credits: Lancia)

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Iain Tunmore
Iain Tunmore
23 days ago

To steal a car nerd joke from Twitter, they should’ve used the Italian for ‘Race’ for this version.

Fjord
Fjord
23 days ago

In Europe these won’t even be considered that small, as there’s a whole segment below these guys. After all those years in purgatory it’s nice to seem them come back with a decent spec car and returning to rallying, even if it will be the shallow end of the pool.

As I understand it, HF quickly evolved from an unofficial club of owners who raced to a factory badge for performance/homologation specials. I’ve resisted putting any decals on my Lancia as it doesn’t have any performance upgrades that would justify it, and have limited myself to an elephant keychain.

Livinglavidadidas
Livinglavidadidas
23 days ago
Reply to  Fjord

This is a promising return but I can’t help but feel a hybrid instead of EV would have really hit the sweet spot.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
23 days ago

As a chemist by trade, I have always read HF as hydrofluoric acid, which makes the cars seem much meaner than Hi-Fidelity.

Livinglavidadidas
Livinglavidadidas
23 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Ah Fluorine, the Tyrannosaurus of the periodic table as my HS chem teacher called it. Very mean indeed

Joshua Christian
Joshua Christian
23 days ago

It’s kinda amusing that Lancia’s greatest hot hatches have been AWD (in a segment known more for FWD), while its most iconic FWD enthusiast cars have been a sprightly coupe and a Ferrari-engined super sedan, bought of which are segments where AWD is more of the norm.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
23 days ago

But does it still come with a blue velour interior and a taco table in the center console?

Those are the most important things to me about the new Lancia.

Berkshire
Berkshire
23 days ago

Bring back the Fulvia Coupé you cowards!

Alexk98
Alexk98
23 days ago

I will continue to call this the Lancia Ypsilanti to pay homage to the numerous Chyslers that were rebadged as Lancias in years gone by.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
23 days ago

It’s not coming here? Don’t tease me, bro.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
23 days ago

TIL that the elephant is from “Eastern mythology as an auspicious emblem or symbol of victory providing the trunk is stretched forward”

*goes off to eBay to find an HF badge to affix to the Shabby wrx*

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
23 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Were you typing Subbie and auto correct put in shabby, or is your wrx just ran down?

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
23 days ago

Lancia is an odd Brand. Usually fun to look at and take for spin. Would not want one or try to keep up with the constant work.

Fjord
Fjord
23 days ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

All depends on what you buy. Some models are surprisingly well-supported.

Art of the Bodge
Art of the Bodge
23 days ago
Reply to  Fjord

It’s way easier to get parts for my Fulvia than my AW11 MR2s.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
23 days ago

I want it just for the adorable elephant badge.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
23 days ago

Just a few years ago Lancia was hobbled by badge engineered Mopar Minivans and had an appointment for last rites, good to see Stelantis breathing some life back into Lancia!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
23 days ago
Reply to  Diana Slyter

Considering the previous Ypsilon had over 15% of the entire Italian car market by itself, it’s about damn time, the brand clearly has a lot of unrealized potential on its home market (Italy accounts for ca 1.5 million cars a year, so a double digit percentage of that is nothing to sneeze at in terms of volume)

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