Many people say that crossovers and SUVs killed the car. That’s not completely meaningless but we won’t talk about that right now. What we are going to discuss is whether a modern-day performance crossover can compete against a hot hatch in terms of acceleration. I bet you’ll be surprised by what you are going to see in the video above.

Top Gear pits two of the hottest hatches on the market today against each other, the still-on-sale Volkswagen Golf R and the Mercedes-AMG A35, both using a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With about 300 bhp and a weight of close to 1,500 kilograms, both cars have comparable dynamics. Are they good enough to beat a performance crossover?

Our Top Gear colleagues add two of these high-riding machines to the mix to find out. On the starting line are two other products of Volkswagen Group – the Cupra Ateca and Audi SQ2. The two, together with the Golf R, share the same 2.0-litre TSI engine, which means the power output of all three is identical. The AMG A35 has a little advantage in that regard and is also the lightest of all four contenders.

With all the numbers put on the table, which one is going to win? Obviously, traction and gear shift times will decide which one is the fastest vehicle in this quarter-mile drag race. It’s important to note that the track is wet but all four cars come in all-wheel-drive configurations.

That makes it difficult to predict the result of the race and we won’t spoil it. We’ll just say we were expecting more from the two hot hatches, especially from the Golf R, which is still one of our favourite small performance models. On the other hand, the two crossovers are a pleasant surprise with 0-62 miles per hour acceleration times of well below five seconds.