The definition of a hot hatch has been stretched further and further in recent years, with supposed hot hatches laying down high-end sports car pace. These cars beg the question – what do you call a hot hatch that’s hotter than hot?
The simple answer is to call it, well, whatever you want. Hyper-hatch? Red-hot hatch? Either way, we’re not here to decide on a name. No, we’re here to discuss what small cars qualify for this new segment of automobile – just run with it for the sake of this list, okay?
Audi RS 3
Your ordinary family hatchback can’t set a 0-60mph time less that seven seconds – never mind four seconds – but then again, this is no ordinary family hatchback. Built as pretty much a rocket ship with wheels, the Audi RS 3 utilizes three things to achieve that aforementioned insane acceleration.
First of all, there’s the engine – an amazing 396bhp turbocharged five-pot that comes with plenty of punch. Second, Audi’s renowned quattro all-wheel drive system is used on this car – a system capable of putting mass amounts of power and torque to the road extremely effectively. Finally, you also have a very slick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission helping to complete this incredibly potent package.
Mercedes-AMG A 35
The newest car on this list is the Mercedes-AMG A 35. Considering this isn’t even the full-blown A 45 – which is still in the works as of this being written – the A 35 is still quite the speedster. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder unit producing 306bhp. Like the RS 3, this sporty A-Class uses an all-wheel drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to put every horsepower down in the best way possible. The result is a staggering 0-60mph time of just 4.7 seconds – in Merc’s entry-level performance hatch!
Volkswagen Golf R
Much like the two cars listed above, the Volkswagen Golf R also makes use of a turbocharged engine, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all-wheel drive. And even more like the A 35, the Golf R’s 2.0-litre turbo motor develops 306bhp – meaning it can get to 60mph from a standstill in only a tenth over 4.5 seconds. Some may say it’s one of the more sensible fast hot hatches, but you can’t deny it’s swift performance and polished driving experience are things to admire.
Yes, that’s right – there are two quick Audi A3s on this list. This is because even the RS 3’s slightly slower sibling is pretty fast. The Audi S3 can achieve 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, meaning it can keep up with the Golf R and A 35.
It’s also understated, this thing. If it weren’t for the quad exhausts and S3 badges, most wouldn’t realise it’s something really rather rapid.
Now, unfortunately this car won’t be around for much longer, which is a real shame. This 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder hatchback is rear-wheel drive, meaning it’s unique in both its engine and drivetrain. Because of this, the BMW M140i offers a different experience to the other four cars on this list – well, a more sideways experience. With 335bhp going to the rear wheels exclusively, this is a playful, entertaining car that loves to be thrashed. And even though the 0-60mph time isn’t as mind-blowing as the other cars on this list at 4.8 seconds, the M140i is still no slouch.