The Hatchback Power War
The idyllic view of a hot hatch has tended to be the fun little car with easy to reach limits that makes it rewarding to push, as you feel the car at the limit at more accessible speeds.
But for the bigger brothers of the super-minis, its more than just fun and games. As time has gone on, the power-hatches have been out to out-muscle each other. And the competition is fierce, as only one can be top dog.
Vying for their place in the spotlight, we have:
(296 bhp, 380Nm) - VW Golf R
(316 bhp, 400Nm) - Honda Civic Type-R [5th gen]
(350 bhp, 475Nm) - Ford Focus RS
(362 bhp, 465Nm) - Audi RS3 Sportback
(370 bhp, 510Nm) - Ford Focus RS [with Mountune performance kit]
(376 bhp, 475Nm) - Mercedes-AMG A45
At the Paris Motor Show, Audi revealed the 2017 edition of the RS3 Sportback would boasting an extra 30bhp (putting the output up to 394 bhp). Unsurprisingly AMG are at work to put themselves back on top; with AMG boss, Tobias Moers, giving the suggestion of breaking 400bhp.
The horsepower war rages on. With every battlefield between the likes of Mercedes and Audi being the target for ever increasing numbers from engines.
So where does that put hatchbacks in relation to other categories? For some context, let's throw a list of sporty cars to see how it stacks up:
(168 bhp, 250Nm) - Fiat Abarth 124
(197 bhp, 205Nm) - Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ
(249 bhp, 475Nm) - Alpine A110
(375 bhp, 460Nm) - Jaguar F-type Coupe S
(380 bhp, 440Nm) - WRC
(394 bhp, 480Nm) - Audi TT RS
(415 bhp, 530Nm) - Ford Mustang V8
(425 bhp, 550Nm) - BMW M3
That's right. The ramp up beyond 400bhp brings hatchbacks into the realms of V8 Mustangs and M-series BMW saloons, while pushing past the V6 variants of the Jaguar F-type.
Will we see a stop anytime soon? Probably not.
Audi produces a 2.0 litre engine that generates around 600bhp (900Nm) for its rallycross machine. And back in 2011, showed off the Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro, a 495bhp (660Nm) pocket rocket that used the same engine as the Audi RS3 (albeit with a few changes).
At the Geneva Motor Show, Renault displayed the Zoe E-Sport concept. The hot version of their electric hatchback. Said power output: 456bhp.
And I doubt the likes of Mercedes/AMG will back down anytime soon.
Could we see a "mega"-hatch in the future?