Hot hatches have been around for decades now and remain a popular choice for UK car buyers. As a result, more brands now offer high-performance versions of their hatchback ranges that contain more powerful engines, improved suspension and brakes, and sportier designs.
The appeal of hot hatches is that they are true all-rounders, offering an exhilarating driving experience but with all the practicality of regular hatchbacks at affordable prices.With a greater selection available to car buyers now, we’ve chosen seven of the best hot hatches on the market for 2017.
Those familiar with the Audi brand will automatically recognise the Audi S3 sportback, as a sportier version of their A3 compact hatchback car, with clear racing influences. But this is not to say that it loses its Audi elegance.
Whilst many other cars in the hot hatch class opt for an all-out sporty design, the mature interior is very much recognisable as Audi and is underpinned by an abundance of car tech and high-class materials.
The S3 Sportback’s impressive performance stats from its 296bhp 2.0-litre TFSI engine reflect just how fun it is to drive. It will take you from 0-62mph in under 5 seconds and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system allows for impeccable grip, even on slippery roads.
Although not officially a full M series model, it certainly feels like one when you drive it. The M135i’s 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged engine allows it to really come alive when accelerating and can achieve 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds.Additionally, the four driving modes of Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ reflect the M135i’s versatility, as does its large boot space which can be extended to 1,200 litres with the back seats folded.
One of the most recognisable models in the hot hatch segment is the Honda Civic Type R. This is partly down to its appearance which is clearly focussed on performance. Low front bumpers, large alloy wheels and a huge rear spoiler all contribute to its famously sporty and muscular aesthetic.
But the Honda Civic Type R also has a long-standing reputation and history within motor sports. One main factor is the Civic Type R’s 2.0 litre VTEC petrol engine which delivers a mighty 306 bhp and a breathtaking top speed of 167mph. Another reason for its motor sports success is the Type R’s superior driving dynamics, allowing optimum distribution of power to each wheel during heavy acceleration.
Honda gave a global debut to the prototype of the all-new Civic Type R at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October and it looks fantastic! The next-gen model is scheduled for a 2017 release.
The design of the Mercedes-AMG 45 clearly draws influence from motor sports, with a prominent spoiler lip and four vertical fins at the rear. However the luxurious Mercedes design still shines through.
The AMG A45’s sporty yet classy exterior design is matched inside with a plush interior and a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine which generates an impressive 376bhp and a 0-62 mph time of just 4.2 seconds.
Its hot hatch status is epitomised by the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes feature which allows the driver to choose the RACE mode, specifically designed for race track performance.
All MINIs are fun to drive, but the high-powered John Cooper Works option takes the MINI experience to the next level, resulting in a terrific hot hatch.
Sporty features are apparent throughout the car to accentuate its motor sports feel – including new-design 18-inch alloys, a roaring dual exhaust and a race-inspired chassis, which makes the JCW lower than any other MINI.But what lies beneath the bonnet lives up to its sporty design. Its 1.6-litre engine can achieve a top speed of 148 mph and 0-62 mph in just 6.5 seconds.
The ŠKODA Octavia is one of the most reliable cars on the market. That’s why the vRS version of the ŠKODA Octavia is a perfect example of a hot hatch that excels equally as a practical family hatchback as it does whizzing round a race track.
The design of the Octavia vRS retains the subtlety of the regular hatchback, but is distinguishable by its sporty body kit with a rear spoiler. The sporty feel continues inside the car with sports seats and drilled metal pedals.But what really sets this car apart from other hot hatch models is its unrivalled interior space, which is an appealing feature for those wanting a real all-rounder.
With a distinctive styling package the Golf R looks the part too. The Golf R comes with specially shaped front and rear bumpers, twin oval chrome exhaust tailpipes and the unique ‘R’ sports suspension.
Underneath the sporty exterior is a 2.0-litre TSI engine which generates 296bhp and a top speed of 155 mph, making the Golf R the fastest production hatchback Volkswagen has ever built. But all that power requires supreme handling, which is why the Golf R’s 4MOTION four-wheel drive is the perfect partner in creating such a great hot hatch level of performance.Despite its power, the Golf R remains a Golf at heart. Therefore you get the quality of space, reliability and safety so synonymous with the Golf range.
You can find out about the availability of all of these hot hatchbacks at one of our official dealerships. Get in touch with your local Jardine dealer for more information, or feel free to enquire online.