Hot hatches used to be front-wheel drive (mostly), practical econoboxes with some added performance on top. Though with technology growing at such rapid pace, these little adorable hatchbacks have flipped their scripts completely to now become proper performance cars with all-wheel drive and modern technologies; in some sense, practicality almost comes second.
Two of such examples are the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S and the Volkswagen Golf R – and Rory Reid, former Top Gear presenter and a massive lucky sod, had the chance to test both of them out together on track.
Both the Golf R and AMG A 45 S are powered by 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, but they both make quite different power outputs. On the former, the EA888 evo4 mill puts out 320 hp and 420 Nm, while the A 45 S makes a bonkers 421 hp and 500 Nm of torque.
So yes, the A 45 S is savagely fast on the straights – 3.9 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h to be exact, 0.8 seconds faster than the Golf R. But that’s not the reason they’ve been brought out onto the racetrack together.
The reason is, of course, drifting. That’s right, you can now drift in a Volkswagen Golf (or AMG A 45 for that matter), thanks to their fancy all-wheel drive systems and built-in drift modes on both cars – no more stealing McDonald’s trays just to “drift” on a FWD car.
Due to the way their respective all-wheel drive systems handle power splits, Rory notes that both cars actually feels quite different when they’re hanging their rumps out the side. Specifically, the AMG feels a lot more like a traditional RWD car while drifting, as it’s able to send more power to the rear wheels.
For those deciding between the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S and the Volkswagen Golf R, the latter supposedly launching here in Malaysia really soon, this could be the video to help you cement your choice. As for everyone else, like us who can barely afford a used Golf, just enjoy the view and admire how far cars have come.