Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mini JCW (F56) vs. Audi RS3 Sportback (8V) vs. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa E OPC/VXR

Back when the new generation Mini was launched, the latest model is no longer a Mini in terms of size. It's more of a Wumbo if you ask them. Despite its go-kart handling promise that Mini delivers for the new model, it doesn't cut the mustard when it gets through tight spaces and it doesn't feel like what the old Mini does in its heydays.

2015 Mini John Cooper Works

So, what do we have here? I'm sensing jealousy from anyone who haven't tried this one out yet. Yes, this is the high-performance version of the new Mini, it's called the John Cooper Works, and for this new model, Mini claims that this is their most powerful car in the family tree, although I'm not particularly sure that this is their best bet in the world of hot hatches.

It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0L petrol engine generating 231PS of power and 320Nm of torque. When mated with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, 0-100kph takes about 6.1 seconds and a top speed of around 246kph. That sounds like a quick car for a quick getaway from your nana's house but because all good hot hatches need to be good at handling, how was it? Is it better than the Cooper S any person had one?

Thanks to its track-honed suspension setup as well as Brembo brakes and special alloy wheels made specifically for this model, the new model isn't half bad to thrash around in the corners. Since this car is all about being a beginner's luck, any driver can drive one before getting advance through luxury sports cars and high-end exotics. Perhaps this is more of a crash course for those who are new to the track day scene, eh? What about taking on the city roads? Is it worth it? Well, not quite because since this is still a wumbofied Mini, your best chance is not to drive it on the tights because you'll be getting a hard time surviving on small spaces much as the normal new Mini does.

Yes, it might still be as big as the normal Mini, but to be honest, the new JCW mixes the things that are right with the things that are wrong so even though this is worth of a challenge, this is still a well accessible track day car you can use it anytime just as long as it doesn't get to situations that doesn't cut the mustard.

2016 Audi RS3 Sportback

If you're opening to suggestions that the new Mini JCW is lacking power, perhaps you should better off with this; the all-new Audi RS3 Sportback.

Think of the new RS3 Sportback as a posh version of its cousin, the VW Golf R, but unlike the Golf R, this new RS3 comes with a 2.5L 5-cylinder turbocharged engine developing 367PS of power and 465Nm of torques. It's the most powerful hot hatch ever created by the Volkswagen Group, and even though this is more than the pre-facelifted A45 AMG, the currently-facelifted A45 AMG backlashed it with more power, which is kinda sad.

Anyway, because this is Audi's most powerful hatchback in the range, it's 0-100kph time is 4.3 seconds while the top speed electronically limited to 250kph or you can go for an optional extra where the limit can be raised to 280kph, which is definitely a fast hatch full-stop.

Of course, good hot hatchbacks don't rely on straight-line performance, and how does the RS3 fare well as a track-day car? Sadly, it's very challenging. Even though it has a four-wheel drive powertrain, driving the new RS3 is like trying to survive a bull riding competition for years and when it sees a corner, best to prepare some painkillers over this one because it's too much grip and understeering can be a pain in the neck. If this car understeers, it's like you've got choked by an angry German who got his schnitzel messed up.

So, would you recommend it? Well, in terms of speed, the new RS3 is a clear bet but in terms of track day use, perhaps this new model warns the drivers that it will going to send them to the chokey. Man, someone's going to get choked by this hot hatch when it understeers.

2016 Opel Corsa OPC

2016 Vauxhall Corsa VXR

If it's affordability you're after, how about this? The new Opel Corsa OPC (Vauxhall Corsa VXR). Now, according to the pricelist, the new Mini JCW costs around 29,900 Euros while the new RS3 starts at 52,700 Euros. The newest version of the Corsa OPC/VXR starts at a very accessible 24,650 Euros (18,375 Pounds) and what you have here is a pocket rocket with very accessible handling that makes it popular among car enthusiasts.

Of course, its 2.0L turbo engine produces the least amount of power when compared to the new JCW and the new RS3, but unlike the other two, it's compact and nimble enough to cut through corners like a game of fruit ninja. Juicy.

It feels generous, it feels accessible, and when getting through the tightest of situations, it's not half bad at all. This is definitely the ideal hot hatch you can have if you're in a mood for some track-day fun.

So, what's your pick? Well, when you compare these hot hatches, chances are very random because a few might go for the new JCW, some might go for the new RS3, while most might go for the hot Corsa. Above all, the newest Corsa OPC/VXR is their best chance because even though it's not as powerful as the others, it's a very accessible hot hatch that you can use it all the time as long as they're not involved in any shenanigans on the city,

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