Hot hatches are some of the most accessible performance cars out there. So, to find out which front-wheel-drive speed machine is best, we’ve lined up the Honda Civic Type R, MINI GP, Hyundai i30 N and Ford Focus ST in our latest drag race.
Tap the video to watch the race.
In the red corner, we have one the lairiest-looking hot hatches ever made – the Honda Civic Type R. This winged-wonder serves up one of the rawest driving experiences of any front-wheel-drive car thanks to its 320hp 2.0-litre petrol engine that pumps out 320hp and 400Nm of torque. This power reaches the front wheels through one of the best manual gearboxes around.
Next up is the all-new MINI GP – complete with a huge two-piece rear wing and vast wheel arch extensions that look like bullet-proof body armour. The GP’s 306hp 2.0-litre engine is a smidge down on power compared with the Honda, but it fights back with 450Nm of torque and a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The next contender is the Hyundai i30N. This left-field hot hatch produces 265hp in Performance guise, but to give it a fighting chance in this company our car chalks up 325hp and a whopping 550Nm of torque thanks to a cold-air intake and a tuning chip. All this power gets sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual ‘box.
This isn’t the only modified car in our drag race, because the last car on our list is a Ford Focus ST with some mechanical meddling by master tuners Mountune. They’ve coaxed an extra 50hp from its 2.0-litre engine; bumping total power to an impressive 330hp. Torque is also up to 515Nm – less than the Hyundai, but significantly more than the Honda and MINI can muster. Like the i30 N, the Focus ST comes with an old school six-speed manual ‘box.
‘But why have you mixed in a couple of tuned cars with two stock models’ we hear you cry? Well, all these cars are closely matched on price, costing between £30,000 and £34,000.
With bragging rights on the line, it’s all to play for in our front-wheel-drive hot-hatch shootout. Let’s get to it.