Can the new Golf R take on its toughest rivals in a drag race and win? Well, the tough competition from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW may have something to say otherwise. The luxury hot hatch market has exploded over the last couple of years and thanks to added competition, the vehicles get better every year. So how does the new Golf R stack up?
The 2021 Mk8 Golf R is a familiar formula that includes, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 mated to either a manual or automatic transmission that sends power to the ground via an all-wheel-drive system. The 2021 Mk8 Golf R’s 2.0-liter engine pumps out a respectable 320 horsepower (238 Kilowatts) and (420 Newton meters) of torque. With a 0 to 60mph of just over four seconds, the Mk8 Golf R is a serious hot hatch.
To Challenge the Golf R we have the Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG, which brings the familiar Mercedes-AMG performance name and moves it down the market to an accessible hot hatch. The A35 AMG has less power than the A45 AMG and also forgoes the unique hand-built engines synonymous with Mercedes-AMG performance products. The 2.0-liter inline-4 produces 302 horsepower (225 Kilowatts) and 295 lb-ft (400 Newton Meters) of torque.
The BMW M135i is a stark departure from the familiar rear-wheel-drive performance cars BMW is known for and instead cashes in this brand equity for a platform shared with MINI. The all-wheel-drive M135i follows the exact same setup of every vehicle here using a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 302 horsepower (225 kilowatts) and 450 Newton-meters (332 pound-feet) of torque. This power is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission and fed to the ground via an all-wheel-drive setup.
Finally, we have the Audi S3 which is very similar to the Mk8 Golf R. It features a 310 horsepower (231 Kilowatts) version of the engine found in the Golf R and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Audi S3 uses Quattro all-wheel-drive which helps to differentiate it from its more affordable cousin from VW.
In this battle of almost identical spec sheets which hot hatch will reign supreme?