If you’re in the market for a 2.0-litre, turbocharged, German hot hatch with an automatic gearbox, you might be pleasantly surprised with how many are on offer.
The subtle yet superb Volkswagen Golf R is back for another generation, the raucous Mercedes-AMG A35 if you’re looking for something a little more ‘look at me’ is on offer, the odd-looking but technically impressive BMW M135i still tops that particular range and the rather clinical Audi S3 is here again.
Splitting hairs between the four of them isn’t a particularly easy task, mind. All have similar power outputs — the Golf R tops it with 320hp, followed by the S2’s 310hp, the M135i’s 306hp and the A35’s 302hp.
They all weigh about the same too — the BMW is the heaviest at 1,600kg and the Golf is the lightest, tipping the scales at 1,551kg, with the S3 and A35 falling between the two.
All even have launch control, with three of the four having seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes, with the M135i’s eight-speed torque converter the odd one out in that respect.
How do you pick the best of the lot, then? Well, there’s the tried-and-tested carwow way, the ¼ mile drag test. All four of these uber hatches have lined up to sort the wheat from the chaff off the line, as well as take on a rolling race and 70-0mph braking test.
Which comes out on top? You’ll have to watch to find out…