Old hot-hatch favorites met new players in Geneva this year, with the Swiss show a veritable hot-bed of pocket rockets.
While Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren grabbed the headlines with their million-dollar supercars, this year’s Geneva Motor Show will also be remembered for the variety of new hot hatches on display. AMG debuted its smallest car ever, Kia unveiled its first performance offering, VW and Audi presented their latest high-performance hatches and Abarth showcased another batch of special-edition Fiat 500s. So where do your allegiances lie? Check out the Top 5 list to help make up your mind.
The new GTI will be available for the first time in two states of tune: 220 hp as standard or with an optional performance pack that kicks in an extra ten horses. Either way, the 2.0-liter turbo four churns out 258 lb-ft of torque, and can be mated to manual or dual-clutch six-speed transmissions. The result is a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds and a 153 mph top speed, or 6.4 and 155 with the performance package. The latest GTI also comes with a lowered sport suspension, chrome exhaust tips, a more aggressive aero kit and red brake calipers inside 17" alloys. Inside, the GTI has its signature plaid seats, more stylish controls and red ambient lighting.
Audi has tuned the new S3 Sportback's 2.0-liter TFSI to deliver 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, while the addition of new tech results in impressive efficiency. When mated to the six-speed dual-clutch box, it can sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.0 seconds; the six-speed manual requires just half a second more. Power is transferred to the new 18-inch alloys via Audi's quattro AWD system, riding on a 25mm lowered suspension, while the progressive steering system further improves handling. Exterior styling highlights include an S-specific single-frame grille, four oval tailpipes, a roof spoiler, integrated rear diffuser, and faux-aluminum mirror housings.
The A-Class-based A45's 2.0-liter turbo four produces 360 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, utilizing direct injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger and the cooling system from the SLS AMG to stake its claim as the most powerful production four-cylinder engine in existence. Power is driven to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch box for a 4.6-second 0-62 time and a top speed of 155 mph. The A45 also boasts upgraded brakes, 18-inch alloys, an AMG-specific aero package and unique axles. The interior has similarly been retrofitted to make the A45 feel as special as its performance figures suggest. Sadly for North American customers, the A45 won't be available Stateside.
The GT version of the Kia Cee’d represents the Korean automaker’s assault on the European hot-hatch market and its first real performance offering. Coming in both five-door Cee'd and three-door Pro_cee'd body-styles, the GT model gets a 1.6-liter turbo four with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque - about 50% more than the top engine in the existing model - mated to a six-speed manual for a 7.7-second 0-62 time. There’s also an upgrades suspension, full body kit, daytime running LEDs, dual exhaust pipes, 18-inch alloys hiding red brake calipers and an interior upgraded with Recaro buckets and alloy pedals.
Every year Fiat’s performance division Abarth comes to the Geneva show with a special-edition 500 or two, and this year Abarth presented a few personalized top-spec 695 models as part of its Fuoriserie customization program. On display were four uniquely-crafted models dubbed Scorpione, Record, Hype and Black Diamond. Each starts out with the 1.4-liter turbo engine producing 180 hp, but from there, the sky’s the limit. Customers can specify all manner of parameters, from special paint schemes to specific upholstery jobs, giving each resulting model a unique look and feel that you’d otherwise have to commission an aftermarket modifier to produce.