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Car of the Year Awards 2023: Best hot hatch engine

Hot hatches should make even the most mundane of drives feel magical. However, this ability to entertain shouldn't come at the expense of everyday usability...

Best hot hatch engine

Mercedes-AMG A45 S Plus

Car of the Year 2023 main logo

Some hot hatches have great engines, but few can match the motorsport-derived 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S.

Pumping out a whopping 415bhp, it’s one of the most powerful engines of its size in production and, as you’d expect, makes the A45 indecently quick. Whereas many turbocharged rivals hesitate briefly when you plant your foot, the A45 reacts almost instantaneously, forcibly pinning you into your seat as all four wheels find traction and you rocket from 0-62mph in just 3.9sec.

Mercedes-AMG A45 S interior

This is an engine that thrives on high revs, sounding more tuneful than most other four-cylinder units, while the dual-clutch automatic gearbox reacts with whip-crack speed every time you pull on a paddle behind the steering wheel.

The A45’s sky-high price and running costs make it less recommendable than the Hyundai i20 N, but there’s no doubt that you get your money’s worth when it comes to sheer performance.

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