This was never going to be close.
The hot hatch wars are still in full swing, with the Volkswagen Golf R battling it out with the Toyota GR Corolla and soon-to-arrive 2023 Honda Civic Type R. These cars have all proven that they can lap the Nurburgring faster than some 1990s supercars, and are pretty brutal in a straight line, but what happens when you put an industry favorite, the VW Golf R up against a relative newcomer? In this YouTube video posted by Sam Car Legion, we get to see the R take on a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N sedan, and despite the fact that the Elantra ain't no hatchback, it still makes for an interesting small-capacity turbo engine showdown.
The Hyundai Elantra N is a compact sedan that, in N form, does battle with traditional hot hatchback offerings, and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine borrowed from Hyundai's TCR race car. The Elantra N develops 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque and sends that power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The N Grin Shift (NGS) function on DCT models adds another 10 horses for 20-second bursts, resulting in a 0-60 mph time of five seconds. The Golf R on the other hand produces 315 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed DCT transmission or a six-speed manual. The VW Golf R has been recorded on US soil nailing the 0-60 mph dash in 3.9 seconds. The writing is on the wall then.
In the first race, the VW Golf R absolutely walks all over the Hyundai Elantra N, but it does seem like the Elantra had a bad start. In the second race the drivers swap cars, and despite the Elantra N enjoying a better launch, it still suffers from a ton of wheelspin which kills any sort of forward momentum, and we see the Golf R effortlessly pull away from the Korean. In the third race, the Elantra N gets a bit of a jump on the VW, but the results are once again the same. The Golf R's AWD system and superior power output are just too much for the Elantra, which can't seem to put the power down. The VW Golf R remains one of the most deceptively quick cars in its class, and a people's champion.
We'd argue that the Elantra is more fun to drive though, and Hyundai's N division has been open about pursuing fun over outright numbers.