Our deep-dive into the cars of 2022 continues today with a look at what people can expect from the booming hot hatch market.
There’s a wide variety of hot hatches headed down under this year, including new models of some famous names.
Set to arrive in the second quarter (April-June) of the year, the new RS3 features both old favourites and new tricks.
Under the bonnet is Audi’s unique and beloved 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine, now making 298kW of power and 500Nm of torque. It still sends all the grunt to all four wheels, but there’s a new trick to the quattro system.
Audi calls it the ‘RS Torque Splitter’ and it’s a clever new rear differential that allows for full, active torque vectoring. It not only helps the RS3 corner with more precision, it also allows for a ‘drift mode’ function that means you can slide the tail around for fun.
Volkswagen Golf R
The RS3 won’t be the only new hot hatch to feature that torque splitter, with Volkswagen also using it for its new-generation Golf R hatch and Wagon.
This duo are due to arrive in April – alongside the all-new Tiguan R – as part of the German brand’s performance onslaught for 2022; with the T-Roc R and Touareg R also due by the end of the year.
The Golf R duo get the new torque splitter, as well as its drift mode, to go with its tried and tested 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. Unfortunately, due to a supply problem, the initial run of the Golf R hatch headed our way will get a 235kW/400Nm version of the engine, while the Wagon gets 235kW/420Nm.
The hatch will be priced from $66,990, while the Wagon will start at $69,990.
One of the biggest names in compact performance is getting an all-new model in 2022. Years in the making (and teasing), the new WRX follows the same winning formula as before but gets upgrades in every key area.
For starters, it’s built on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which is lighter and stiffer than the out-going model. This has allowed for a redesigned suspension set-up for even better handling, according to the company.
Under the bonnet the old model’s 2.0-litre boxer engine has been replaced by a larger, more powerful 2.4-litre flat-four. This new unit makes 202kW/350Nm and will be paired with the choice of a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox, plus Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive system.
The new WRX is due to hit the showroom in the second quarter of the year.
As we’ve written previously, Cupra will become one of Australia’s newest car brands when it sets up shop in the middle of the year.
Part of the wider Volkswagen Group, it is scheduled to begin selling cars in Australia by July, with three models – the Formentor and Ateca SUVs and the Leon.
The Leon is the Spanish answer to the Volkswagen Golf, and is in fact built on the same underpinnings, so it features similar powertrains.
There will be four Leon options available, a trio of turbo petrol models making 140kW, 180kW and 221kW respectively, as well as plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Honda Civic Type R
While it has been a golden age of hot hatches in the last decade with the likes of the VW Golf GTI, Hyundai i30 N, Toyota GR Yaris and Renault Megane RS, one has stood out from the competition.
Honda’s Civic Type R was widely-praised for its razor-sharp handling, on the road and track, which marked it out as the ultimate ‘driver’s hot hatch’ for enthusiasts. So the pressure is on to repeat the success with the new-for-2022 model.
The Japanese brand has begun teasing the new Type R, but official details remain scarce. We know that it will have Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, and it’s likely to be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
Given it hasn’t been unveiled in full yet, it’s likely to hit showrooms very late in the year.