For most petrolheads, young or old, the appeal of a hot hatch is rather significant. The joy of owning a hatchback with loads of power under the hood, all wrapped up in a compact form factor that’s both manoeuvrable and chuckable is highly sought after.
A good hot hatchback should be an absolute hoot and a riot to drive. It should make you smile, and it should make you laugh. Top speed, quick acceleration times or the car's fun factor are key considerations to determine a hot hatch's performance. To sum up our findings, here are some of the fastest hot hatchbacks on the market today.
Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4MATIC+
Let’s kick off this list with the fastest, rawest, and possibly most bonkers hot hatch to grace our shores, the Mercedes A45 S AMG. Bare figures are as follows: 421 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot. 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds. There is an “estate” variant of the A45, affectionately the CLA 45 S AMG after the stylish four-door coupe. That car has the same engine and running gear, and it does 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds.
(Click HERE to read about the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake)
To put it into perspective, the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe does the 0-100 sprint in 3.8 seconds. A hatchback that is just 0.1 seconds slower than a sports coupe, that is what you’d call bonkers performance. Do what you will with that information.
Audi RS3 Sportback
Now we venture into safer territories with the Audi RS3 Sportback. Just a couple milliseconds seconds off the previous car on this list, because the RS3 is a raw visceral hatchback in its own right. There is a sedan version of the RS3, but for the sake of this list, let's just focus on the hatchback/Sportback variant. It packs a 2.5-litre inline 5 cylinder engine, which is also turbo'd, producing 400 horsepower. How fast is it you ask? 4.1 seconds to 100km/h on to a top speed of 250km/h. By our calculations, that should get you across the Pan Island Expressway in just shy of 11 minutes.
Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC
Granted, the Mercedes-AMG A35 is not as bonkers as its A45 S brother. But it still does 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds, and it produces in excess of 300 horsepower (306hp to be exact). You still get a 7-speed dual-cutch, and you still get a hell of a fun car. Maybe one that’s a little less of a handful.
(Click HERE to read about the Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC)
BMW M135i xDrive
The older F20-generation M135i was a great car with excellent traits. A 3.0-litre straight-six engine with over 300 horsepower, 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and its rear-wheel drive. It almost doesn’t fit the bill for a hot hatch.
(Click HERE to read about the BMW M135i xDrive)
However, the newer F40 M135i xDrive fits that description to a T. The M135i is now an all-wheel-drive vehicle, albeit being front-biased. It has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces 306 horsepower, and it does 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. Enticing, no?
Honda Civic Type R FK8
Now I can’t rightfully conclude this list without bringing in one of the most iconic Japanese hot hatches, the almighty Honda Civic Type R. Like previous generations, the Civic Type R is fitted with a 2.0-litre inline-4 engine. Only now, the engine in the FK8-generation car comes with a turbo. Some might think that's sacrilegious but hold that thought.
(Click HERE to read about the Honda Civic Type R FK8)
Thanks to Honda’s turbocharging tech, the car produces 320 horsepower and 400Nm of torque. And it only comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox, which hampers the 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds a little. But the FK8 Type R went around the Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds. Can’t really argue with those credentials.
Volkswagen Golf GTI (and VW Golf R)
The Golf GTI has been the definitive hot hatch for generations, dating all the way back to the good old days of the first generation GTI. The MK7 GTI was great, but the upcoming MK8 Golf GTI is on its way over soon, and its performance figures look promising. 245 horsepower, a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG, 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds. Juicy stuff.
(Click HERE to read about the Volkswagen Mk8 Golf GTI)
The Golf R on the other hand is a much more intimidating package. Just like with the MK7 generation car, the new one ought to be substantially more powerful. And even more raucous.