It's getting harder and harder for hot hatches to find success on the market. They've never been well-loved in regions like the US but the combination of performance and practicality are impossible to dispute. Take for example the VW Golf GTI TCR and the Hyundai i30 N. The two are stars of a new drag race video from the Cars.co.za YouTube channel.
Both compete for the same customers, though only one can be the winner. Both pack a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, though the Volkswagen is more powerful – 285 bhp and 280 lb-ft of torque compared to 270 bhp and 260 lb-ft. VW pairs the Golf's mill with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox while the Hyundai, which is about 190 kilograms heavier, has a six-speed manual transmission.
Gallery: Hyundai i30 N (2020)
The Hyundai gets a stellar start off the line before the VW even begins to move. The Golf's launch control system seemed delayed before the engine overpowered and spun the front tyres. However, VW quickly shortened the Hyundai's sizable lead. The VW's mid-range power was able to help the car close the gap, pass the Hyundai, and begin taking the lead. The VW finished first, with Hyundai losing by several car lengths.
The power difference between the two is small, but combine that with a sizable weight difference – and questionable Balance of Performance tactics – and the Golf's advantage is clear. The launch control system didn't help, but once the VW found traction, it had no trouble using its advantages to secure a win.
The VW Golf entered a new generation this year, with the hotter GTI and Golf R variants expected to be even faster than the outgoing GTI.