Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG
Key specs: £37,850. 355 bhp and 332 lb /ft.
Looking at the stats, it's unfair to compare the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG against the Volkswagen Golf GTI. With 355 bhp and 332 lb /ft coming from the Merc's 2-litre turbocharged engine, the A45 AMG would destroy the Golf GTI in a straight line and it would even show a clean pair of heels to the outgoing Golf R.
With prices for both cars expected to be only separated by £12,000, though, they are closer competitors than you may think for the buyer with enough disposable income. So which is best?
Well if outright grunt is what you're after, there's no question the A45 AMG betters the golf in every possible scenario.
Inside, the cabin is of a higher quality too. The carbon fiber dash and leathers make for a stunning contrast, and the seating position in the A-class - never mind the A45 AMG - is top rate.
Mercedes claims that the A45 AMG will achieve 34mpg on a combined cycle and 161g/km of CO2 with stop start technology. The car will reach 62mph in 4.6sec while top speed is limited to 155mph. That's very impressive if I may say so, especially for a car that exudes so much class.
On the move the A45 AMG will benefit from the standard A-class sound cushioning. This means that at motorway speeds you won't be able to hear a thing. The refinement of the A-class is so good that step in to a VW, Audi or BMW competitor, you feel like you're riding in a tractor.
But is that what you want from a hot hatch? Probably not. After all, the sounds, grunts and squeal of tyres are what hot hatches are all about. Whilst the A45 AMG is a deadly fast car, it won't feel all that involving when it comes to the track.
Still that doesn't matter to company car drivers, who are likely to get good deals on the new AMG. The extra horsepower and torque of the A45 AMG make sure that at motorway speeds the car will cruise past a Golf GTI like it's standing still. The GTI will catch up eventually, though, given both cars are limited to 155 mph.
Big brakes, an advanced ESP system and 18-inch alloy wheels on 235/40 rubber make sure the A45 holds its own when things get tricky. Not that you'll have fun doing it. Imagine wearing ear buds, wrapping yourself in bubble wrap and riding a bike fast down a hill. You just experienced the A45 AMG. Oh and it cost you £37,000. Can you hear that? That's the sound of a Golf GTI driver laughing all the way to the bank.