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Fastest hot hatches of 2024

Hatchbacks may initially have been designed with practicality in mind, but it didn’t take long before manufacturers were stuffing ever more powerful engines into them, creating a new breed of performance cars: the hot hatch.

The 1974 VW Golf GTI started it all, producing a heady 109hp, it was the quickest hatchback money could buy. Fast forward 48 years and the most powerful hatchbacks are now producing over 400hp and accelerate faster than many sports cars. 

The hot hatch category has expanded too; you can now pick from a range of quick superminis, city cars and family hatchbacks. And here we’ve selected the best ones across these classes for you to pick from.

Audi RS3

1. Audi RS3

Audi RS3 review
Mercedes-Benz AMG A45

2. Mercedes-AMG A45

Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 review

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Volkswagen Golf R

3. Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen Golf R review
Hyundai i20 N

4. Hyundai i20N

Hyundai i20 N review
BMW M135i

5. BMW M135i

BMW M135i review
MINI 3-Door Hatch

6. MINI Hatch JCW

MINI 3-Door Hatch review
Hyundai i30 N

7. Hyundai i30N

Hyundai i30 N review
Ford Fiesta ST

8. Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST review
Cupra Leon

9. Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon review
Battery range up to 429 miles
Abarth 695

10. Abarth 695

Abarth 695 review

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Advice about fast hot hatches

Hot hatchback FAQs

The Audi RS 3 is currently the fastest hot hatch on sale. It produces 395hp from its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine, and all-wheel-drive grip allows it to launch from 0-62mph in a sports car embarrassing 3.8-seconds.

The BMW 1 Series 120D xDrive is one of the quickest diesel hot hatches on sale today. It produces 190hp from a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine, and will get from 0-62mph in 7.0-seconds. It will also do 53.3mpg in combined driving.

Currently there are a handful of electric hatchbacks on sale which deliver strong performance. The 184hp MINI Electric will zip from 0-62mph in 7.3-seconds. It may not be classed as a hot hatch, but it matches the Mini Cooper S in acceleration and feels far quicker in-gear. 

Hybrid hatchbacks tend to be geared towards maximum economy, so there aren’t many out there that would qualify as a hot hatch - though a plug-in hybrid like the Volkswagen Golf GTE fits the bill quite nicely.

The Audi RS 3 has a top speed of 180mph – if you pay for the Dynamic Pack which removes the 155mph limiter. The Mercedes-AMG A45 S will do 168mph out of the box. The Volkswagen Golf R is not far behind, capable of hitting 167mph, but also requires you to spec the Performance Pack to remove that pesky 155mph limiter.

The Mercedes-AMG A45 S produces 416hp from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. That kind of power figure was reserved for V8-powered sports cars from just a few years ago. In close second is the Audi RS 3, it makes 395hp from its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine.