• Two four-wheel-drive, turbocharged hot hatches line up for a drag race.
• The Mercedes-AMG A45 S and Volkswagen Golf R battle to see which if fastest.
• The A45 S has 310kW and 500Nm while the Golf R sports 235kW and 420Nm.
Mega-powerful hatchbacks pushed the envelope of what a modern performance car is capable of. Take for instance the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. Its M139 motor is the most powerful production engine in the world with power outputs of 310kW and 500Nm.
I've been strapped into the R1 101 000 machine and will attest to the engine's outrageous performance from a mere 2000cc.
Carmakers have learned that sending a huge amount of power to the front wheels results in torque steer and not sufficient usable power for the driver.
Like its predecessor, the A45 runs a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and even has a drift mode. I tried it out at the car's international launch in Spain two years ago and I was impressed by the huge amount of grip it has despite sporting over 300kW.
When I road tested it last month I felt how harsh the ride is due to the sports suspension and performance-orientated set-up. It's a serious piece of machinery and definitely comes with compromises due to its nature.
Other carmakers have fitted all-wheel-drive systems to their hatchbacks too, and cars like the Audi S3, RS3 and Volkswagen Golf R use Volkswagen-sourced all-paw technology.
While some enthusiasts might prefer front-wheel-drive hot hatches such as the Golf GTI, Megane RS and Honda Civic Type R, the popularity of ultra-powerful hatchbacks has soared in the past 10 years.
The two of protagonists featuring in today's drag race sport huge power, four-wheel-drive systems, automatic gearboxes and launch control systems.
The Mercedes-AMG A45 S is on sale already while the Golf R is due to arrive sometime in 2021, after the GTI's arrival in the second quarter of the year.
The A45 S uses an eight-speed twin-clutch gearbox and has claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of under four seconds.
The Golf has a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 235kW and 420Nm.
The Mercedes trounces the Golf in the power stakes, with 75kW and 80Nm more. The Golf boasts a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds.
On paper, it's not looking good for the Volkswagen. But drag races aren't done on paper, so let's see how they compete in the real world in thisvideo by Archie Hamilton.