We love a hot hatchback here at MotorGeeks. But while they’re reasonably popular in the UAE, there isn’t nearly as much of a following for them here as there is in Europe.
We understand why. The roads in this part of the world aren’t exactly suited to high-powered, front-wheel-drive tomfoolery. Instead, people tend to opt for either SUVs (ideal for taking on the desert), or sensible saloons (ideal for cruising down the arrow-straight highways). As a result, dealers here don’t even stock some of the best hatchbacks (*cough* Honda Civic Type R *cough*).
And yet, if you’re prepared to shop around a bit, you can secure yourself a decent hot hatch through an official dealer. Here are the fastest you can buy today.
Audi RS3 Sportback
Powered by the same rally-bred V5 engine that’s found in the mad Audi TT RS, the Audi RS3 Sportback (pictured above) is the fastest production hot hatch in the world. And of course you can buy it in the UAE, because it’s awesome and it’s from a luxury brand. The RS 3’s 2.5-litre engine feeds 395 bhp to all four wheels, with 0-100 km/h taking just 4.1 seconds. Top speed is a dizzying 280 km/h. Not bad for a family hatch that’s no more difficult to drive than a VW Golf.
Yes, we know the new Mercedes A-Class has already arrived, but no announcements have yet been made over the replacement of this, the original, superpowered luxury hatchback. Power comes courtesy of a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder that chucks out 376 bhp. When it was announced in 2013, the A45 was a little less potent, but was still easily the quickest and most powerful hatchback the world had ever seen. And while the Audi RS3 has since nabbed that crown, the A45 is still mega. The 0-100 km/h dash is taken care of in 4.2 seconds, and top speed is a limited 250 km/h. You can still buy this version of the A45, but with the new A-Class out soon, you may want to wait for the new one.
Volkswagen Golf R
Yep, we’re still in German hatchback territory. This is the Golf R, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot developing 306 bhp. That’s enough for the car to get to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, meaning it’ll worry most Porsche 911 drivers at the lights. There are loads of these about in the UAE, and with good reason. Aside from being devilishly fast, the Golf R is superbly practical and just as refined as you’d expect any Volkswagen to be.
Bigger than the other models on this list, the BMW M140i is actually something of a grown-up car. It’s got that classic BMW interior and tech, loads of space inside, and plenty of luxury and refinement. But don’t’ be fooled. When you put your foot down, you’re treated to 335 bhp courtesy of a sonorous 3.0-litre straight-six engine. You’ll see 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and because power is fed to the rear wheels, you can indulge in a little tail-out malarkey as well.
Volvo V40 T5 R-Design
You wouldn’t normally associate a Volvo with high performance, but the V40 T5 R-Design delivers it in spades. It actually shares a lot of components with the Ford Focus ST, meaning there’s some brawn to go along with the brains. Power comes from a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 245 bhp, meaning a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 240 km/h. Who said Volvos are boring?
Of course we had to include the Volkswagen Golf GTI on this list. Sure, it’s often overshadowed by its 300 bhp rocket ship big brother, but the Golf GTI is still a superb all-rounder that offers a great balance between speed, excitement and practicality. The 0-100 km/h is a perfectly respectable 6.4 seconds, thanks to the 230 bhp generated by its four-cylinder engine. Not the last word in speed, but perhaps the quintessential hot hatch.