It's incredible how much power engineers can extract from small capacity turbocharged engines.
Let's take the unit in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 for example, which has 225kW and 400Nm. It's a serious piece of kit, and Mercedes-AMG reckons it hits 100km/h from standstill in 4.9 seconds.
The CLA isn't the only high-performance compact sedan playing in this segment. Audi's S3 has been around for a while, but its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine packs less slightly more power than the Mercedes at 228kW, but the same torque figure of 400Nm. This car also sends its power to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The four-ringed sedan is said to hit 100km/h from standstill in 4.6sec.
The final contender is the latest Mini Clubman John Cooper Works (JCW), the fastest and most potent Clubman. This specific model was launched in South Africa during the closing stages of 2019.
It too has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, with 225kW and 450Nm channeled through a new eight-speed automatic sports transmission, including the mechanical differential lock on the front axle.
Mini quotes a 4.9 second 0-100km/h sprint time and top speed is limited to 250km/h. Oh, and there's launch control too.
Mini has given the performance duo drive to all four wheels, a bespoke engineered chassis and reinforced the body structure, engine connection, and chassis fastenings.
May the best compact car win.