There's no getting over the fact that the Mercedes-AMG A45 is an expensive choice. What that price buys you, though, is some blistering straight-line speed and impressive cornering ability. Combine those talents with a mighty 375bhp engine and a quick automatic gearbox, and this is a very capable hot hatchback. Just be aware that most rivals listed here have similar talents for considerably less money.
3. BMW M140i
The M140i might sit between M Sport trim and the fully fledged M cars, but it’s closer to the original spirit of M than any of the bombastic, overweight models that currently wear the badge. This is mostly thanks to its outrageous pace, which is combined with a chassis that bristles with feel. It's crazily quick and handles beautifully, yet it provides just as much pleasure at moderate speeds.
We're well into five-star car territory with the Ford Focus RS. With a total of 345bhp on tap, it's one of the most powerful hatchbacks around, and it's also got four-wheel drive and can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in under 5.0sec. It's also surprisingly affordable, with a starting price of £31,765 - that makes it significantly cheaper than some of the more premium choices on this list.
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