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Are modern hot hatches as fast as iconic supercars of the past?

Are modern hot hatches as fast as iconic supercars of the past?


Modern hot hatches have incredible performance, so we’ve compared them with old supercars to find out just how impressive these figures are.

Modern hot hatches have truly mind-bending performance, with power figures that would blow the mind of car enthusiasts from even a decade or so ago.

With manufacturers able to get more power out of smaller engines and mechanical advancements helping to make cars able to utilise that performance, it’s fascinating to compare today’s fast family cars with exotic machinery from the not-too-distant past…

Mercedes-AMG A45 S v Ferrari Testarossa

The Ferrari Testarossa is one of the Italian car maker’s most iconic models. It’s sleek, low to the ground, and unashamedly extroverted, and for many people it defines the Prancing Horse. It featured a 4.9-litre, mid-mounted V8 engine that made 386bhp and 490Nm of torque, controlled through a gorgeous five-speed manual gearbox.

Ferrari and Mercedes

However, it’s left behind by the modern Mercedes-AMG A45 S. The hatchback’s engine is less than half the capacity at 2.0 litres, but it makes a whopping 416bhp and 500Nm of torque. With all-wheel-drive, it goes from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds – 1.6 seconds faster than the Ferrari.

Volkswagen Golf R v Lamborghini Countach

The Volkswagen Golf R has long been one of the go-to hot hatches thanks to its understated looks and impressive performance. Its 2.0-litre engine makes 306bhp with rumours suggesting the new version will make even more.

Volkswagen Golf R v Lamborghini Countach

The Lamborghini Countach, though, is the ultimate poster car thanks to its wild styling. Boasting 325bhp from its 4.8-litre engine it’s more powerful than the Golf, but technological advancements mean the hot hatch sprints from 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds, compared with 6.8 in the Lamborghini.

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Honda Civic Type R v Aston Martin DB5

The Bond effect has helped catapult the Aston Martin DB5 to cult status, and is widely regarded to be one of the prettiest cars ever made. Who could argue that? Its 4.0-litre in-line-six made 282bhp and 390Nm of torque, taking eight seconds to go from 0-60mph – decent for 1963, when the car was launched.

Honda and Aston Martin

However, the latest Honda Civic Type R smashes these numbers, made all the more impressive by the fact it’s front-wheel-drive. It might lose out in the looks department, but with an engine making 316bhp and 400Nm of torque, its 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds means it beats the Aston in every other measure.

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Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ v Suzuki Swift Sport

This David and Goliath comparison might seem slightly ludicrous, and it is, but you might be shocked to learn that even today’s entry-level performance hatchbacks can outgun classic supercars. The Gullwing has a V12 engine from a fighter plane and makes 240bhp and 294Nm of torque. It was one of the fastest production cars on sale, going from 0-60mph in around nine seconds.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ v Suzuki Swift Sport

However, the plucky Suzuki is actually faster. Sure, its power output of just 138bhp means it’s lagging well behind the Mercedes in outright punch, but it can sprint from 0-60mph in just 7.8 seconds. And it costs over £1 million less.