The question of what’s the best hot hatch is asked all the time.
Of our five contenders, it's the smallest, cheapest car on offer here that answers it most emphatically.
Ford Fiesta ST
$34,990 – So good it almost took our overall Car of the Year title last year, the wee ST Fiesta is better than the sum-total of its parts, has no vices and can punch beyond its weight against all the others on our list, all for a price that has us pinching ourselves in disbelief. Best fun for the dollar car on the market.
$85,900 – By putting the company’s biggest and most powerful six under the nose of its smallest car, BMW is doing what hot-rodders and performance car-makers have been doing for decades. It has every right to be an unruly beast, but it isn’t thanks to top-notch chassis work and is an unintimidating daily drive.
$79,900 – So well contained is the power and torque by the car’s quattro all-wheel-drive system that it’s an almost undemonstrative performance car. Then you look at its low five-second 100kmh time and wonder how it does it all so easily. That’s not all, there’s a bigger-engined five-cylinder RS3 waiting in the wings.
$94,900 – With all-wheel-drive and more power at 265kW than any other performance hatch on our market, the ’Benz AMG is the company’s A-class flagship and offers immense pace that definitely deserves its AMG suffix, as the tuning arm has worked on every aspect of the powertrain and chassis. Softer models are available.
VW Golf GTi
$58,500 – The GTi was the one that started the hot hatches genre 38 years ago and with its combination of space, pace, build quality and well-sorted chassis it’s probably the hot-hatch on this page that’s easiest to live with, but just like the Audi, the model has a more powerful version called the R that’s arriving soon.
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