In the last forty years, hatchbacks have gained worldwide popularity as all major automakers were eager to satisfy the increasing demand, developing powerful and more capable cars with each model year.
Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4MATIC
The smallest car in the AMG lineup is based on the fourth-generation W177 A-Class, and it's available in three distinct versions with the most outlandish being the A 45 S 4MATIC+.
It features an individual front bumper with an AMG-specific radiator grille that looks a lot like the one on the AMG GT, two exclusive power domes on the hood, 19-inch wheels, and larger 6-piston front calipers.
Under the hood, we find the most powerful production 4-cylinder engine currently in production, the mighty Mercedes-AMG hand-built M139. On the A 45 S 4MATIC+, it produces 416 hp (310 kW; 421 PS) and 500 Nm (369 lb.-ft) of torque. The all-wheel-drive monster can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph (0-62 mph) in just 3.9 seconds and has a limited top speed of 270 kph (168 mph).
Audi RS3 Sportback
The 2020 RS3 is based on the facelifted third-generation A3 and it offers a single-frame grille with a three-dimensional honeycomb structure, larger air intakes, redesigned bumpers, a rear diffuser, and a striking roof spoiler.
The Quattro all-wheel-drive only hot hatch is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-five TFSI engine with three available output options, the most powerful producing 395 hp (294 kW; 400 PS) and 480 Nm (354 lb.-ft) of torque, launching the RS3 from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds.
The RS3 is only available as a Sedan in most markets, making room for the fourth-generation hatchback model, which is set to be released next year. You can still get the 2020 Sportback version in selected markets like the UK, Germany, or Australia.
BMW M135i xDrive
The 1 Series is continuing the hatchback tradition started by the Bavarian carmaker in the 90s and early 2000s, when it butchered E36 and then E46 3 Series, calling them Compact.
One tradition the third-generation 1 Series didn’t continue was that of rear-wheel-driven powertrains. Fortunately, the high-performance M135i is only available with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel-drive system.
The engine at the heart of the M135i is the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four B48A20 engine shared with the F56 MINI John Cooper Works GP, which also shares the same platform.
It produces 302 hp (225 kW; 306 PS) and 450 Nm (332 lb.-ft) of torque. The 0 to 100 kph (0-62 mph) acceleration time is not as great as the A45 S but at 4.8 seconds it is still fast. Top speed is electronically limited of course at 250 kph (155 mph).
If European hot hatches are your thing, these are the three most powerful versions. We can’t wait for the new year to come as it will bring us highly anticipated models such as the new RS3 and the MK8 VW Golf R.