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Ten fastest hatchbacks available in Australia

Hot hatches have become as quick as sports cars in recent years thanks to technology.

The hot hatch is in hot demand these days.

Australians have always had a preference for performance and sporty hatchbacks manage to strike the balance between affordability and speed, making them incredibly popular.

But what is the quickest hot hatch in Australia? Well, we've scoured the spec sheets and found the fastest small cars on sale today.

You'll find some of the usual suspects, but the list also includes a few surprise contenders and there are some notable names missing from our list of the fastest hatchbacks.

For example, the critically acclaimed Honda Civic Type R (5.4 seconds 0-100km/h) isn't quite quick enough to make the cut - but you'd hardly call it a slow hatchback - and the popular Hyundai i30 N just missed the cut (5.4sec), too.

And remember we aren't saying these are the best small hatchbacks in Australia but they are the quickest 0-100km/h.

10. Toyota GR Corolla - 5.2 seconds

  • Toyota GR Corolla Toyota GR Corolla
  • Toyota GR Corolla Toyota GR Corolla
  • Toyota GR Corolla Toyota GR Corolla

Price: From $64,190

Toyota is a latecomer to the hot hatch party but is making up for lost time. It launched the GR Yaris in 2020 and introduced the GR Corolla in 2023. It gets the same powertrain as its little brother, but it has been improved to compensate for the slightly higher weight of this bigger model.

The 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine makes 221kW/370Nm and has the same six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive systems, resulting in the same 0-100km/h time as the Yaris.

The GR Corolla is the more 'grown up' choice of the two, with a more spacious cabin and better on-road manners, courtesy of its more compliant ride.

However, at the time of publication, it's still only available with a manual gearbox, which marks it out as an enthusiast's hot hatch.

Read our GR Corolla review to learn more.

9. Toyota GR Yaris - 5.2 seconds

Toyota GR Yaris Toyota GR Yaris

Price: From $51,390

The GR Yaris is what's known as a 'homologation special' which means it was designed to help the company's World Rally Championship program.

That's why the GR Yaris is a three-door and not a five-door, has 'GR-Four' all-wheel drive as well as being wider and fitted with lightweight panels.

Thanks to these changes and its 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, that makes 200kW/370Nm, this all-wheel drive pocket rocket takes just 5.2 seconds to run 0-100km/h.

This isn't a hot hatch for everyone. though. The GR Yaris is a compact car with cramped rear seats. It's also only available with a manual gearbox, which singles it out as a car for driving purists.

For more information, check out our GR Yaris Rallye review.

8. BMW M135i xDrive - 4.8 seconds

  • BMW M135i xDrive BMW M135i xDrive
  • BMW M135i xDrive BMW M135i xDrive

Price: From $76,600

BMW aficionados may miss the old rear-wheel drive 1-Series but this latest all-wheel drive version is a better BMW hatchback - or at least faster.

The combination of all-wheel drive traction coupled with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 225kW/450Nm means it can launch with intent - taking just 4.8 seconds to run 0-100km/h.

The switch to the all-wheel drive (or front-wheel drive on the lower grade models) means this latest 1-Series is a much more user-friendly hatchback.

It has a roomier back seat and a more practical boot, which expands the appeal of the M135i from just rev-heads to anyone looking for a premium hatch with some sporty intent.

Read our review of the M135i xDrive here to learn more.

7. Audi S3 Sportback - 4.8 seconds

  • Audi S3 Sportback Audi S3 Sportback
  • Audi S3 Sportback Audi S3 Sportback

Price: From $71,800

The next few entries on the list could fall under the sub-heading of 'luxury hatchback' as they highlight the shift of the premium brands over the last decade or so.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all moved down into the hatchback space to offer more affordable cars, and when they did they also saw the opportunity to make hot hatches.

The S3 Sportback isn't the pinnacle of Audi Sport's range (that's still to come) but it still makes the cut with its very rapid acceleration.

That comes thanks to its potent 228kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Audi's iconic 'quattro' all-wheel drive system.

You can learn more about the stylish S3 Sportback here.

5. Volkswagen Golf R - 4.8 seconds

  • Volkswagen Golf R Volkswagen Golf R
  • Volkswagen Golf R Volkswagen Golf R
  • Volkswagen Golf R Volkswagen Golf R

Price: From $68,990

While not quite in the same premium segment as Audi and Mercedes-AMG, the people's car maker has gradually evolved its range-topping Golf R into a seriously quick and polished hot hatch.

This latest version shares a lot of mechanical DNA with the Audi S3, making 235kW/400Nm from the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

It also gets the same seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive, which help to quickly transfer that power to the ground, resulting in an identical 0-100km/h time as its slightly more expensive four-ringed sibling.

This is an ideal hot hatch for someone who wants a more premium everyday hot hatch and is willing to pay for it, but isn't worried about the badge on the front.

Read our Volkswagen Golf R review to learn more.

5. Mercedes-AMG A35 - 4.7 seconds

  • Mercedes-AMG A35 Mercedes-AMG A35
  • Mercedes-AMG A35 Mercedes-AMG A35

Price: From $87,900

Moving back to the premium brands again, this is the direct competitor to both the Audi S3 Sportback and BMW M135i xDrive, another hot hatch that blurs luxury and speed.

But, again, like the Audi, the A35 isn't as quick as these baby Benzs get - with more to come on our list.

The A35 is plenty quick, though, with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder single-turbo engine that makes 225kW/400Nm and sends its performance to the road via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel drive system.

That's why it's able to launch with so much punch, making it one of the quickest hot hatches in the country.

Like the Audi and BMW, the A35 is an ideal choice for those willing to pay a premium for a more polished hot hatch experience.

Learn more about it here in our review of the Mercedes-AMG A35.

4. Mercedes-AMG A45 S - 3.9 seconds

  • Mercedes-AMG A45 S Mercedes-AMG A45 S
  • Mercedes-AMG A45 S Mercedes-AMG A45 S
  • Mercedes-AMG A45 S Mercedes-AMG A45 S
  • Mercedes-AMG A45 S Mercedes-AMG A45 S

Price: From $106,900

So if the A35 isn't quite quick enough for you, Mercedes-AMG has the A45 S, which is nearly a full second quicker than its stablemate.

How does it achieve that? Simple, AMG developed the most powerful four-cylinder engine to ever grace a hot hatch.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit pumps out a remarkable 310kW/500Nm. Those are the kind of numbers we expected from sports cars only a few years ago. 

Not surprisingly, AMG has paired it with an all-wheel drive system to help manage so much grunt to the road.

The result is one of the angriest, feistiest hot hatches you can buy today, which will likely either sound like a dream or a nightmare depending on the weekday/weekend bias you put on your hot hatch.

Read our Mercedes-AMG A45 S to learn more about this potent little beast.

3. Audi RS3 Sportback - 3.8 seconds

  • Audi RS3 Sportback Audi RS3 Sportback
  • Audi RS3 Sportback Audi RS3 Sportback

Price: From $89,869

Only 0.1 seconds faster than the A45, but Audi was not shy about proclaiming the RS3 Sportback “top in class” when it launched in 2021.

To achieve that feat Audi Sport pulled out all the stops, creating the most potent version of its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine yet as well as developing an all-new all-wheel drive system featuring a 'torque splitter' that helps acceleration and drifting.

Audi's famous five-cylinder now makes 298kW/500Nm, so despite less power it still manages to out-sprint its arch-rival.

Now though, as the rest of the list will demonstrate, there's a new key to faster acceleration - electrification.

But for those who still want internal combustion performance in their hot hatch, the RS3 Sportback is the quickest you can buy today.

Learn more in our in-depth Audi RS3 Sportback review.

2. MG4 XPower - 3.8 seconds

  • MG4 XPower MG4 XPower
  • MG4 XPower MG4 XPower

Price: From $59,990

Up until now turbo hatchbacks have ruled this list, now as we get to the pointy end it's the electric examples that take over. And an unlikely contender at that, too, in MG.

The formerly British brand is now part of a Chinese automotive conglomerate but is looking to lean on its sporty heritage with the MG4 XPower. The hero colour is inspired by Sir Stirling Moss' MG land speed record racer from the 1950s.

But underneath it's all about the future, with a pair of electric motors (one on each axle) providing a 320kW/600Nm kick that helps the XPower rocket past all but one of its market rivals on this list.

Despite this impressive performance, the MG4 XPower is the second-cheapest car on our list - so it provides an amazing 'bang for your buck.'

Read all the details on MG's new hot hatch before it arrives on our roads.

1. Hyundai Ioniq 5 N - 3.4 seconds

  • Hyundai Ioniq N Hyundai Ioniq N
  • Hyundai Ioniq N Hyundai Ioniq N
  • Hyundai Ioniq N Hyundai Ioniq N

Price: From $111,000

Is it a true 'hot hatch' or more a 'hot SUV' - we'll let you decide. But whatever you call it, the Ioniq 5 N is quick. This all-electric performance car takes just 3.4 seconds to go from rest to 100km/h, putting it comfortably at the top of our list.

Not only that, but it means the Ioniq 5 N is quicker than some supercars of the not-too-distant past, including the Ferrari Enzo (3.8 seconds) and Lamborghini Murciélago (3.8 seconds), demonstrating just how far technology has come in recent years.

It achieves this remarkable feat thanks to a dual-motor electric powertrain that has a motor on each axle for all-wheel drive performance and 448kW/740Nm. What's more, there's a mode that allows for up to 478kW/770Nm for short bursts.

The Ioniq 5 N is a very different proposition to the hot hatches we've come to know and love, but if this is a forerunner for the future, expect the next-generation of electric hot hatches to lower the bar even further when it comes to acceleration.

Learn more about the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N here.

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