Top 10: The Fastest Accelerating Hot Hatches On The Market

Acceleration times on paper are not always the most significant factor in buying a car, but in some cases – like the very competitive hot hatchback segment – the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) sprint can be a decisive tool.

With the horsepower war still raging and with the help of sophisticated torque vectoring and launch control systems, hot hatchbacks are becoming faster and faster off the line. In order to clear things up, we prepared a list with 10 fastest accelerating hot hatches that are currently on sale in numerous markets around the world.

10. Renault Megane IV RS: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 5.9 sec

The Renault Megane IV RS launched last year fitted with a turbocharged 1.8 liter TCE engine producing 280 ps (205 kw / 275hp) and 390 Nm (287 lb-ft)  of torque. Buyers can choose between a 7-speed EDC gearbox and a 6 speed manual that send the power to the front wheels. Thanks to Renault’s electronically-controlled torque distribution system, the french hot hatch accelerates from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.9 seconds, which places it on the 10th place – only until the faster and more powerful “Trophy” version arrives in the following months.

9. Seat Leon MK3 Cupra 300: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 5.7 sec

The updated Leon Cupra 300 launched in 2017 with minor cosmetic changes and a small power boost over its predecessor. The turbocharged 2.0 liter TSI engine produces 300 ps (221 kw / 296hp ) and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque, combined with a 7 speed DSG gearbox that sends the power to the front wheels. Thanks to VW Group’s front axle differential, the car accelerates from 0-100 km in 5.7 seconds.

8. Honda Civic Type R FK8: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 5.7 sec

Some people think of it as the best FWD hot hatchback ever made, while others criticize its flamboyant styling. The Honda Civic Type R (FK8) is the fastest FWD car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife (7:43.80) and various other tracks around the world. The mighty 2.0 liter VTEC turbo engine makes 310 ps (228 kw / 306hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. A short-ratio 6 speed manual transmission and a helical limited-slip differential (LSD) in the front axle, allow the car to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds.

7. Seat Leon MK3 Cupra R: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 5.5 sec

Another Seat Leon Cupra model on the list, but this time it’s the limited edition Cupra R launched in 2017. The car is fitted with a more powerful version of the 2.0 TSI engine (the same unit that is fitted on 4 out of 10 cars of our list) churning out 310 hp (228 kw / 306hp) and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque. The fastest version of the car comes with a 6 speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential, allowing a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/) time of 5.5 seconds.

6. Ford Focus RS MK3: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.7 sec

The Ford Focus RS MK3 that launched in 2015 might be in its final year of its life-cycle, however it still retains a spot among the fastest cars in its segment. The turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine generates 350 ps (257 kw / 345hp) and 470 Nm (347 lb-ft) of torque, and is mated to a 6 speed manual transmission that sends the power to all four wheels. With the launch control activated, it accelerates from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.7 seconds.

5. Audi S3 MK3 (facelift): 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.7 sec

The third generation of the Audi S3 received a facelift in 2016, and even though it is not the the most powerful version of the A3 range, it still is a very fast car. The 2.0 TFSI engine is good for 310 ps (228 kw / 306 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and combined with a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel-drive system, allows a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) acceleration time of 4.7 seconds.

4. VW Golf VII R (facelift): 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.6 sec

The facelifted VW Golf VII R that launched in 2017 bears a lot of similarities with the Audi S3. Its 2.0-liter TSI engine is capable of producing 310 ps (228 kw / 306 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and, along with a 7 speed DSG transmission and a Haldex-based 4MOTION all-wheel drive system allow the car to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 4.6 seconds, making it one of the quickest hot hatchbacks money can buy.

3. BMW M140i xDrive: 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.4 sec

The only model on the list with a six cylinder engine is the top of the range BMW M140i fitted with the 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo that makes 340 ps (250 kw / 335 hp) and a segment leading 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. The base version is rear wheel drive, but the fastest accelerating model is the XDrive (AWD) with the 8 speed Steptronic Sport transmission, offering a 0-100 km/h time of just 4.4 seconds.

2. Mercedes-AMG A45 W176 (facelift): 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.2 sec

A successor might be just around the corner, but the Mercedes-AMG A45 W176 that launched back in 2015 is still the second fastest accelerating hot hatch on sale. Thanks to the AMG-tuned 2.0-liter engine with 380 ps (280 kw / 375 hp) and 475 Nm (350 lb-ft) of torque, the 7 speed automatic gearbox and the AMG all wheel drive system, the German hot hatch completes the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) sprint in just 4.2 seconds. Let’s see if the Mercedes-AMG engineers will manage to beat the next car on the list with the AMG version of the new A-Class…

1. Audi RS3 Sportback MK3 (facelift): 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in 4.1 sec

The title of the fastest accelerating hot hatchback goes to the updated RS3 Sportback that was launched in 2017. The segment leading 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time of 4.1 seconds is achievable thanks to the most powerful five cylinder engine in the world, producing a crazy 400 ps (294 kw / 394 hp) and 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) of torque. The 2.5-liter mill is combined with a 7 speed DSG gearbox and Quattro all wheel drive system and, while it may not be the best car around the track, Audi’s uber hatch deserves our respect for being the most powerful and the quickest car in its segment.

By Thanos Pappas
  • DanSemering

    Audi RS3 is a beast….

  • LeStori

    Yep. Even the “shopping trollys” are fast these days.

  • Steve Goossens

    If you can have an RS3 Sportback in this list, you’ve missed out yet another Leon Cupra.

    The Leon Cupra ST DSG: 4.9s

    • Vassilis

      Not quite mate. The RS3 Sportback is a 5door, hatch RS3. The Leon ST is an estate Leon not a 5door hatch one.

      • Steve Goossens

        Maybe the ST is marketed as an estate, but the RS3 Sportback and Leon ST sure seem to have the same rear, as in Hatchback: a car with a door across the full width at the back end that opens upwards to provide easy access for loading. They’re very similar in form, doors and hatchback boot. The Leon ST is just 17cm longer, is that what qualifies the ST as an estate, and the Sportback a hatch? Genuinely curious.

        • Vassilis

          All estates have a hatch at the rear. The Leon ST is qualified as an estate because it’s longer than the 5door Leon. The RS3 isn’t longer than a 5door RS3. It’s the only 5door RS3. Also, if the Leon ST doesn’t qualify as an estate (and therefore neither do the rest of the cars in the same class) how do you differentiate between it and the 5door Leon? How do you categorize it?

          • Steve Goossens

            Fair enough, the RS3 Sportback just looks like an estate to me… I guess it could be a short estate or a long hatchback.

          • Vassilis

            I think it’s because of the roof rails. Audi does it on purpose in order to make a connection with the RS2. But we all know it’s just a 5door hatchback.

  • SteersUright

    Too bad none of these is the complete package. None are beautiful – none look properly high-performance nor mean and some look flat out ridiculous (MB and Honda). None have bad ass interiors outside of the mega expensive ones, and those are only decent. I love all of these hot-hatches, but Im still hoping one day we see a truly great one. The Porsche GT3 of hot hatches, so to speak.

    • Vassilis

      Looks are subjective but I’m not sure what you’re thinking is doable. Hot hatches are based on every day cars that need to satisfy very strict safety regulations, be spacious and practical. They can’t be bespoke cars and those are as close to a complete package as possible.

  • Infinite1

    Unpopular opinion: I think the Type R is a great looking hatch with great performance.

    However: MSRP is a bit over 34k and with stealerships pricing gouging it to 41 to 42k, I rather buy the rivals with better interior, tech, performance, and quieter cabins.

    RS3 Hatch for me

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