The battle of the uber-sport compact car has just begun; we live in an unprecedented era where compact cars boast some serious firepower, only met in the supercar segment before.
Too much ink has already been spilled about how the A45 AMG reminds a rally replica, how complete as a package a Golf R is, how insanely quick the RS3 is, how the latest STI remains faithful in the traditional Subaru values but in the end, they all belong in the same, bizarre but awesome corner of motoring, under the tag ‘There-is-no-such-thing-as-too-much-power’.
The unveiling of the new Focus RS has given us a chance to round-up what is considered to be the opposition and by counting the cars that go against it, it’s obvious enough that we are indeed living in times of really crazy cars.
Everyone is really excited about the arrival of the Focus RS but somehow we forgot that it kinda jumps only now on the bandwagon. See for yourself: the 4WD +315hp (+320PS) 4-cylinder turbo 2.3-litre Ford Focus RS will lock its horns against the 292hp VW Golf R, the 305hp Subaru WRX STI and for those who live in Europe, the 355hp Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, the upcoming 362hp Audi RS3 and the 322hp BMW M135i xDrive.
How on earth did we end up with so many 4WD 300+hp compact sports cars?
Yes, some of them are quite different in character and yes, some of them are only available as automatics (step in front BMW, Mercedes and Audi). Not everyone is a purist though, and how badly do you want to argue against a hatch that’s capable of 4.3sec to 62mph (100km/h) and -if unrestricted- 174mph (280km/h)of terminal velocity (that’s you, Audi RS3). Who doesn’t want a hand-built masterpiece of an engine (wink-wink AMG) or enjoy the creamy soundtrack of a BMW six-cylinder? Or the idea of driving an almost 300hp innocent-looking Golf that does everything great seems like a bad one?
On the other hand, Ford promises “unique drift capability” with the new Focus RS, which was developed with the help of Ken Block, and claims that up to 70% torque can be transferred to the rear axle. Combine this with a traditional six-speed manual and a promise for a 0-60mph (96km/h) in under 5 seconds and you can almost hear purists all over the globe giggling like a bunch of school girls. Subaru is still offering the most distinctive exhaust burble out there in a segment they co-founded and that for some is just enough.
How do you feel? How hardcore do you want your 300+hp compact sports car? Is teaching Lambos a lesson or two a priority? So many questions, so many answers to choose from, I know…
Vote below for your favorite uber-sport compact car!
By Michael Karkafiris
*Note: BMW interior photos are from the 1-Series M Sport, not the M135i, as they have not yet been released
Poll: Poll: Which hot compact would you take home?