The new Audi S3 rolls to the start much more strongly than the Golf GTI. A mill making 310 hp (231 kW) should make it the "most dynamic car in the segment."
The four-wheel-drive with a multi-disc clutch is a revised version of the system from the TT Coupe. It can transmit higher forces than before. Even though Audi speaks of a fully variable system that can send up to 100 percent of the power to each of the axles, under normal circumstances, it remains at a maximum 50:50 ratio.
Like the Mercedes-AMG A35, the new BMW M135i has the same 306 hp (228 kW) under the hood. And, just like Mercedes, Munic, too, relies on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine.
Due to the 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque, the M135i is only available with BMW's all-wheel-drive system called xDrive. Also included is an eight-speed automatic transmission. This has a starting price of €48,900.
The Spanish twin of the new VW Golf GTI is the future Cupra Leon. It already previews the engine range for the GTI: the well-known 245-hp (183 kW) four-cylinder, plus the hotter 300-hp (223-kW) GTI TCR with 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque.
The Cupra Leon will also have its own plug-in hybrid variant with 245 hp (193 kW), just like the VW Golf GTE.
The Cupra Leon is available as a five-door model and as a station wagon. The latter has the exclusive benefit of 310 hp (231 kW) and all-wheel drive.
The Cupra Leon is scheduled for market launch in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Ford Focus ST
Since the days of the first Escort, sporty compact cars have a long tradition at Ford. The Focus ST is aimed right at the Golf GTI.
In addition to a 190-hp (142-kW) diesel engine, the Focus ST is also available with a 2.3-liter gas engine that offers 280 hp (209 kW) and 308 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque.
There is a choice of either a six-speed or seven-speed automatic transmission. The gasoline-powered Focus ST starts at €34,700.
Honda Civic Type R
The iconic Honda Civic Type R is one of the most potent front-wheel-drive vehicles on the market.
New is a slight facelift and the "Sport Line" version without the gigantic rear wing. Nothing changes on the engine: 2.0-liter turbo, 320 hp (239 kW), 195 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. With these numbers, the Honda trumps the upcoming Golf GTI TCR on paper.
The Civic Type R starts at €37,590.
Hyundai i30 N
Does the Hyundai i30 N still pass for an under-the-radar hot hatch? Evidence suggests yes as former BMW M head Albert Biermann has put a competent hot-hatch compact on wheels.
The discrete i30 N with 250 hp (186 kW) hasn't been available in Germany since April 2019. Only the performance model with 275 hp (205 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm) of torque is still available. Still quite new is the somewhat more sharply tuned i30 N Project C.
Fans of the i30 N are still waiting for a dual-clutch transmission. Perhaps it will come with the i30 facelift. The fastest i30 starts at €33,100.
Like the Honda Civic Type R, the Mercedes-AMG A35 is almost too powerful for a comparison with the VW Golf GTI.
Let's have a look at the numbers: 2.0-liter turbo gas engine, 306 hp (228 kW), 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. Plus a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The A35 is also available as a sedan with a notchback design. with gives it a leg-up over the GTI. The five-door model demonstrates the premium demands of Mercedes: €47,796 is a lot of cash.
Peugeot 308 GTI
Peugeot also uses the abbreviation GTi for its sporty models but with a lowercase I.
The 308 GTi enters the ring with 263 hp (196 kW) and 251 lb-ft (340 Nm). It is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Cost: €36,850.
Renault Megane RS
A lot of performance for the money could be the motto of the Renault Megane R.S. The front-wheel-drive car has a good reputation thanks to fabulous lap times on the Nordschleife.
The 2020 Mégane R.S. is getting an upgrade. The "ordinary" R.S. now makes as much horsepower as the Trophy model – 300 hp (224 kW), which is 20 (15 kW) more than before. Depending on whether you choose the manual gearbox or the double-clutch, the torque is either 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) or 310 lb-ft (420 Nm).
But if you want the stiffer Cup chassis and the mechanical front axle lock, there is no way around the Trophy as before.
Skoda Octavia RS iV
The Skoda Octavia RS iV is yet another in-house rival to the GTI, and it's getting ready to launch. Starting this August, it will be available as a plug-in hybrid, diesel, and with the same 245 hp (183 kW) petrol engine as the Golf GTI.
Ideal for sporty family fathers, the hopped-up Octavia will be available as a hatchback and station wagon.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
This is the new 2021 VW Golf GTI. The optional honeycomb-cube fog lights are striking.
For now, the Golf GTI comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It produces 245 horsepower (183 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet (370 Newton-meters) of torque. There is a choice between a manual six-speed gearbox or a seven-speed DSG.
There is a more powerful Golf GTI TCR being planned that's rumored to develop 300 hp (223 kW).
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