This was an incredibly close finish.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI pioneered the hot hatchback when it debuted in the 1970s. In the US, the all-new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is keeping the hot hatch segment alive. While it's faster, lighter, and more fun to drive than its predecessor, the Golf GTI is facing some stiff competition from the Hyundai Veloster N, which has proven to be a formidable hot hatch. Since the Veloster N launched, Hyundai's N performance range has expanded with the new Elantra N sedan and Kona N crossover.
To find out how the Kona N fares against the Golf GTI, South African YouTube channel CAR pitted the two high-performance compacts against each other in a drag race.
In terms of specifications, the Golf GTI packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 13 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque compared to the seventh-generation model. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
For comparison, the Hyundai Kona N packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 276 hp and 289 lb-ft, or 286 hp with overboost, and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Like the Golf GTI, power is sent to the front wheels only. While the Golf GTI is down on power, it's a lot lighter than the Kona N, with a curb weight of 3,113 pounds (manual) compared to 3,340 pounds, making for an interesting race. The Golf GTI with the DCT was used in this drag race, making for a surprisingly evenly-matched clash.
Initially, the lighter Golf GTI gets a head start but struggles to get traction, allowing the Kona N to overtake and take the lead. Towards the end, the Golf GTI starts to catch up, but the Kona N crosses the line first thanks to its extra muscle and beefier tires.
Unfortunately, the YouTube channel didn't reveal if launch control was activated or if the Kona's N Grin Shift was enabled adding an extra 10 horsepower. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly close finish and an impressive achievement for the Kona N considering its heft, but the Golf GTI put up a fair fight and was far from embarrassed.