Can the all-new VW MK8 Golf GTI match some of its toughest competitors in a drag race? Well to find out, the team at Carwow hit the airstrip to put the new MK8 Golf GTI to the ultimate test. The Ford Focus ST and Skoda Octavia RS were on-site to see if they could beat the latest Golf GTI in a series of drag races.

The 2021 Golf GTI is the latest evolution in the perennial hot hatch favourite that strikes the perfect balance of sporty driving, practicality, and affordability. For this latest generation, the 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4 produces 243 bhp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This robust engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is routed through the front wheels and managed by an electronically controlled differential to handle the surge of torque.

The Ford Focus ST is one of the Golf GTI’s strongest competitors and the hot hatch it needs to beat. The Ford Focus ST features a detuned version of the Ford Focus RS’s turbocharged 2.3-litre inline-4 that produces 276 bhp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The Ford Focus ST also features a limited-slip differential to reign in this powerful engine and get power to the ground.

Finally, we have the Skoda Octavia RS saloon which shares its drivetrain with the MK8 Golf GTI. This small sports saloon may not be a hot hatchback at first glance but its performance and practicality make it an honourary member for this drag race.

In this battle of hot hatch excellence, we see if additional power can match the lightning-fast shifts of a dual-clutch transmission with launch control.