When the Mk1 Golf was first referred to as a hot hatch, we’re pretty sure that most out there (who have been around since then) could never have imagined just how big and popular the segment would become in the world automotive industry. Back then the concept was simple; a responsive motor, a lightweight body and a relatively short list of bells & whistles. Back then cars were mostly still oversized slabs of metal, and so when the compact Mk1 Golf was afforded a mere 82 kW (110 hp) it was still able to hit 100 km/h in under 9-seconds and it had a top speed of 182 km/h (113 mph), the specs were actually better than the bigger-engined saloons. Over the years things have gotten bigger in size, but the concept of almost too much power remains, and so the latest generation of hot hatches are also often referred to as Hyper Hatches thanks to their absolutely mind-blowing performance - enough to put a supercar or two convincingly in the rear-view mirror.
While Volkswagen has the Golf 8R on their books as a hot hatch, sister company Audi’s S3 is probably the closest in spec and capability, but their range-topper, the RS3 is a few steps ahead in just about every category. It’s powered by a highly-tuned turbocharged 5-cylinder lump that’s rated at an impressive 294 kW (400 hp) with torque up at 500 Nm. This is enough to propel the super-hot hatchback Audi to 100 km/h in as little as 3.8-seconds, and it has a top speed limited to 250 km/h (155.5 mph). That’s all in standard OEM guise, and you and I both know that these cars are usually modified the day they roll off the showroom floor with a little spice in the software to raise the power and remove that top-speed limiter, so those performance figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. Then there are the owners who will do hardware changes too, affording a car like the RS3 performance figures closer to what a supercar offers up.
The second hot-(hyper)-hatch seen here is that amazing Mercedes-AMG A45 S, another German offering with ridiculous power and performance figures. It’s not as popular as the RS3, well not here in SA anyway, and in the SXdrv circles it’s not really because of the pricing and availability, a lot leans towards the fact that the Audi is pretty much fully catered for in the aftermarket sphere with an abundance of tuning options available. On the Mercedes front there’s a mere handful of people who can play with them. Luckily then that the A45 S has the most powerful production four-cylinder lump in play. The turbocharged 2.0-litre pumps out a whopping 314 kW (421 hp) and has the same 500 Nm of torque on tap. This can get the Affalterbach hatchback to 100 km/h in a claimed 3.9-seconds with top speed limited to 270 km/h.
While just about every fanboi can rattle off the specs at any time, that's the easy part. In this video Mat also directly compares the brakes, the chassis, does a rev test, styling inside and out, passenger and boot space, driving dynamics and the all-important pricing.
Take a look at the YouTube video where one of favourite UK car test chaps, Mat Watson, pits the hottest hatches on the market today against each other in the most in-depth comparison and overall review we've seen to date: Audi RS3 v Mercedes-AMG A45 S: Which is best? | carwow
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