The war of the hot hatch: VW Golf 7R vs Mercedes A 45 AMG

The war of the hot hatch: VW Golf 7R vs Mercedes A 45 AMG

 

There have always been a few hot hatches to choose from if you are the sort of person who enjoys torque steer, hatchbacks and small, turbocharged engines.

 

The Opel Astra OPC, the VW Golf GTi, and more recently cars like the Audi S3 and BMW M135i are just a few of the choices you have.

 

But at some point, the game changed. Manufacturers worked out how to extract extraordinary levels of power from these small engines (without them exploding) and the result of this was that front-wheel drive could not cope with all the added power.

And so, the hot-hatch-smiths took to all-wheel drive and now we have a whole new generation of small, fast, relatively affordable sports cars, offering 200 kW+.

And the unlikely king of all of them is a Mercedes-Benz.

Yes, for its first ever hot hatch, Mercedes-Benz told its AMG engineers to conceptualise the car whilst under the influence. Well, that must be the only way to explain an engine that produces 265 kW from just 2.0 litres of displacement.

But they were very sober when they designed the epic interior, and the computer system which launches the A 45 AMG 4Matic off the line, named “Race Start”. It is the absolute nemesis of traffic light racers around the world.

Both cars are not readily available in Zimbabwe. However, the Mercedes comes in at an eye-watering R659 717, compared to the Golf 7R’s price tag of R525 900.

The Golf R does not have quite as sophisticated a launch control as the Mercedes Benz, and so would immediately be at a disadvantage notwithstanding the 59kW power difference. But it is lighter and is known as a bit of giant slayer, as earlier in the day we had seen it destroy the Subaru WRX STI.

 

And so, we lined up these two hot hatch warriors on the start line of a standard quarter-mile drag strip and dropped the flag. Can the Mercedes justify that massive price tag? Or will the Golf 7 R embarrass its German counterpart?

Volkswagen Golf R vs Mercedes Benz A 45 AMG Specs

 

VW Golf 7 R

Mercedes Benz A45 AMG

Price

R525 900

R659 717

Engine

2.0L 4-cyl turbo petrol

2.0L 4-cyl turbo petrol

Power

206 kW

265 kW

Torque

380 Nm

450 Nm

Fuel economy

6.9L/100km (claimed)

7.1L/100km (claimed)

0 – 100kph

5.0 seconds

4.6 seconds

Top speed

250kph

250kph

 

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