Which performance-oriented compact luxury car is quickest on a damp race track? Well, wonder no more because we have a race between the Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf R, Mercedes-AMG A45 S, and BMW M2. Can these all-wheel-drive hatchbacks challenge the smallest BMW M car? 

When it comes to impressive real-world performance, a hot hatchback always seems to deliver. Take for example the Volkswagen Golf R which combines Audi S3 levels of performance and luxury into a Volkswagen Golf shaped package. The Golf R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-4 cylinder engine that produces a respectable 296 bhp. This boosted 4-cylinder is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which routes power through an all-wheel-drive system. 

Gallery: See AMG A45 S drag race Golf R, RS3, M2

If the Golf R seems a bit pedestrian, let me introduce you to the Audi RS 3. In today’s video, the Carwow team flaunts the RS 3 hatchback. This impressive hatch ditches the typical 4-cylinder engine found in most hatchbacks in favour of a raucous inline-5. The turbocharged 5-cylinder in the RS 3 is good for 395 bhp and produces noises reminiscent of a V10 putting all of the other 4-cylinders on the grid to shame. 

The Mercedes-AMG A45 S is one of the most impressive hot hatchbacks ever built. Under the bonnet of this orange missile is a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine, which produces 416 bhp making it the most powerful 4-cylinder engine in a production car ever. This nuclear engine is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. This power is transmitted to the pavement via Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. 

Are any of these hatchbacks a match for the mighty BMW M2 Competition? Although the M2 brings the legendary performance credentials of BMW’s M division, can it match the all-wheel-drive competition on a damp track?