It's getting harder and harder for hot hatches to find success in the US. They've never been well-loved, here, but the combination of performance and practicality are impossible to dispute. That means some markets get cars that we don't, like the VW Golf GTI TCR and the Hyundai i30 N. The two are stars of a new drag race video from the Cars.co.za YouTube channel.
Both compete for the same customers, though only one can be the winner. Both pack a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, though the Volkswagen is more powerful – 285 horsepower (213 kilowatts) and 280 pound-feet (380 Newton-meters) of torque compared to 270 hp (202 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm). VW pairs the Golf's mill with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox while the Hyundai, which is about 418 pounds (190 kilograms) heavier, has a six-speed manual transmission.
The Hyundai gets a stellar start off the line before the VW even begins to move. The Golf's launch control system seemed delayed before the engine overpowered and spun the front tires. However, VW quickly shortened the Hyundai's sizable lead. The VW's mid-range power was able to help the car close the gap, pass the Hyundai, and begin taking the lead. The VW fished first, with Hyundai losing by several car lengths.
The power difference between the two is small, but combine that with a sizable weight difference – and questionable Balance of Performance tactics – and the Golf's advantage is clear. The launch control system didn't help, but once the VW found traction, it had no trouble using its advantages to secure a win. The VW Golf entered a new generation this year, with the hotter GTI and Golf R variants coming to the US, though the base Golf won't be coming with it. The hotter GTI TCR could also come here, but it won't have a ton of competitors.