When you picture yourself driving a sports car, you might imagine yourself sitting in something with two seats, a big V8 under the bonnet, and maybe a convertible to make the most of that summer sun. That dream, however, is ruined when you think of that big thirsty engine that incurs high fuel costs, the fact that you occasionally need to carry more than one passenger, or should you need a boot space that can hold more than a couple of small shopping bags.

Enter the hot hatch!

Europe, and more specifically, Britain, are absolutely in love with them, and it’s hard to disagree.

What would you say if you were offered a car that had nearly 300 bhp, could do 0-100 km/h in less than 6 seconds and give you 12.82 km/litre of fuel burnt during the morning commute?

Well, that is what is on offer with some of the following hatchbacks that I’m about to introduce!

You may have to make do with five doors instead of three doors; but you get five seats, decent boot space, and all the usual creature comforts for no more than the price of a mid-size sedan.

Here are three options to consider if you’ve got that sports car itch but still need a practical daily driver.

Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR

Having only arrived in 2011, the GTC is a fairly new name on the hot hatch scene but the Astra has been around for many years and is well known for having more than its fair share of power. This new version comes with a 2.0 turbo engine producing 280 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. It has an electronically limited top speed of 249 km/h and will manage a very economical fuel consumption of 15.3 km/litre. It also has a very capable limited slip differential to keep everything behaving as it should, which is a must when you have that much power going through the front wheels. Head down to your nearest Vauxhall Dealer, and you’ll notice that it’s not the subtlest of beasts as it won’t go unnoticed in a car park full of the usual three and five-door hatchbacks. Then again, VXRs have never been restrained and is a vehicle for those that like a car that looks as good as it goes.

Honda Civic Type R

One of the most well-known names in the hot hatch industry is the Civic Type R and it pays homage to its Japanese heritage in true Fast and Furious style with aggressive body kits and a huge rear wing.

You might have heard the familiar cry of the boy racers screaming “VTEC yo!” but those days are now gone. In 2015, Honda bowed to the prevailing trends and manufactured their first turbo-powered Civic Type R. It boasts a whopping 306 bhp and 406Nm of torque, all of which goes through the front wheels via a limited slip differential but not eliminating that dreaded torque-steer. It’ll manage 0-100 km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds (although real-world tests managed it in 5.2 seconds) and has a top speed of 283 km/h.

Volkswagen Golf R

Possibly one of the most grown-up hot hatches available in the market, the Volkswagen Golf R is distinguishable to the knowing eye by the two twin exhaust tips at the back of the car and its huge 19-inch wheels. The Volkswagen Golf R sports a 2.0 turbo engine which puts out 306 bhp and 401 Nm of torque. It will manage 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds with a manual transmission or 4.6 seconds with the optional DSG. Limited to a top speed of 249 km/h the Volkswagen Golf R has a Haldex four-wheel drive system; which means that more power can get to the road giving better traction in the corners.

Well, there you have it; three ways to get supercar performance with all the practicality of a family run-around. All the cars have an average fuel consumption in the mid-30s, so there’s no reason not to treat yourself, just make sure you keep your new pride and joy protected.


Last week, we received an invitation to test-drive the latest Audi A3 Sportback Car at the F1 Pit Lane and it was held as part of Audi Singapore’s annual premier fashion event, the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore. To mark the 5th anniversary milestone of the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, the festival is held at the Marina Promenade with a new waterfront location against the backdrop of Singapore’s skyline and a bigger tent that targets to attract more than 20,000 visitors.
The new Audi A3 Sportback Car! By the way, the backdrop that you see in the background is designed by LASALLE Students

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

From featuring the world’s most revered designers and International top models to red carpet fashion galas and glamorous after-parties, the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore is supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and is highlighted as the biggest fashion event of the year.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Themed “Crafting the Future”, this year’s festival will feature 5 days of shows featuring a mix of emerging and established top-class names from the international world of fashion including Carolina Herrera, Hussein Chalayan, Peter Pilotto, Tsumori Chisato, Collette Dinnigan, RAOUL, Ashley Isham, Zardoze, Jun Okamoto and Ong Shunmugam.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Audi A3 Sportback

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Quoting from Audi Singapore’s Website, the cost of the new Audi A3 Sportback starts from $168,910 for the 1.4 TFSI S-tronic Model and its design is a statement for poise and vast energy. You would have notice from the photograph that the new Audi A3 Sportback sports a flatter, more masculine, and more dynamic appearance thanks to its distinctive tornado lines, roof contour, and integrated roof-edge spoiler. Available in more than 10 colours, the Audi A3 Sportback is definitely a car that YOU MUST CONSIDER, especially if you are looking for a futuristic, innovative, and fuel-efficient sporty car!

Before we move on to share with you the technical details of the new Audi A3 Sportback, here’s some shots that we took when we test-drove the Audi A3 Sportback on a custom-built course at the Singapore F1 pit lane. This test-drive experience that we had was really unique, challenging but fun as well.

The A3ttraktion Zone is where we registered for the Audi A3 Sportback test-drive.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

We must say, the test-drive experience was really professionally-organised.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Here’s a photo at the Briefing Room and at that point in time, my heart was pounding madly with excitement because I didn’t quite know what to expect.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Here’s a photo of the driving instructors whom were going to guide us through the obstacles when we test-drive the Audi A3 Sportback.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

So here I am in the Audi A3 Sportback with my driving instructor on my left and also with Jacqueline seated in the rear passenger seat documenting the process.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

A closer view of the front.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

Smiling for the camera while waiting to move off.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The custom-built course for the test-drive consists of 4 stations; See & Saw, Score!, Slalom, and Garage.

For See & Saw, I basically had to drive the Audi A3 Sportback up the ramp and wait for the ramp to descend before moving off. It wasn’t really that difficult but it requires a certain level of coordination because moving off too fast would cause the ramp to slam down rather quickly.

For the second station, Score!, I had to accelerate the Audi A3 Sportback Car, hit the gigantic soccer ball, and try to score a goal. We were given two attempts and I failed quite miserable in the first attempt. However, the good news is, I scored a goal in the second attempt and my name was entered into a lucky draw where the grand prize is a VIP trip to catch Bayern Munich and AC Milan in action at the Audi Cup 2013 in Munich, Germany!

The third station, Slalom, requires me to navigate the Audi A3 Sportback Car in between the cones that have been placed and it is very much like weaving in and out of the cones. It wasn’t too difficult and I managed to complete the obstacle rather smoothly.

The last station, Garage, requires us to jam our brakes really hard and the purpose is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Anti-lock Braking System [ABS] onboard the Audi A3 Sportback.

A photo with my Driving Instructor after the Test-Drive

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

We really enjoyed driving the Audi A3 Sportback and the experience was truly awesome.

If you’re interested to find out more about the Audi A3 Sportback Car, do read on!

The interior of the Audi A3 Sportback is really classy and it also offers plenty of space with its surprisingly large knee space in the rear passenger compartment. There’s also a separate air-conditioning system for the rear passengers.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The rear bench seat can be split-folded 40:60 to increase the luggage space and when folded down completely, it creates 1,220 litres of space that is sufficient for two large luggages.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The horizontal instrument panel architecture emphasises the size of the interior and the 3D inlays seem to embrace the driver.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

For the individual seating position, the optional electric seat adjuster and the intelligent automatic climate control option provide a pleasant atmosphere.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The glove compartment at the front passenger’s seat.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The air vents in jet design set further stylish trends. Also, the air flow can be adjusted to provide a concentrated stream of air or to distribute air evenly, all with variable levels of intensity.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

A closer look at the steering wheel of the Audi A3 Sportback.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The central control unit; the optional MMI® navigation plus with MMI touch, is a touch-sensitive control panel integrated in the rotary/push-button control for intuitive operation. It offers drivers a new and intelligent way of controlling the navigation and telephone functions by “writing” letters or numbers on the control panel with the finger. Drivers can also operate the functions supported by the optionally available Audi connect via the MMI touch. The slim 7-inch colour display, which pops up electrically, presents all the information in a new look and with impressive clarity.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013
From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The S tronic® transmission onboard the Audi A3 Sportback.

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

The S tronic transmission combines the low fuel consumption of a manual transmission with the benefits of an automatic. The control ensures fast and consumption-reducing gear shifting in automatic mode. The very large transmission-ratio spread of the S tronic allows the last gears to be used at very low engine speeds.

Audi A3 Sportback Car Driving Experience

Practical, efficient, powerful and oh-so-agile, the all-new Audi A3 Sportback is at the forefront of urban vehicle technology and it is a car that features inspired applications of technology that really needs to be driven in order to be appreciated.

During the test-drive, the Audi A3 Sportback handles the corners pretty well and we felt very safe in the car as it was quite sturdy.

When I pedalled hard on the accelerator, the Audi A3 Sportback picks up speed really fast and the engine was really quiet. The driving experience was smooth and the gear transmission was intuitive and responsive. What’s really great about the Audi A3 Sportback is its fuel efficiency!

Tested in accordance with UN ECE R101, the fuel consumption of the Audi A3 Sportback is 5 litres per 100 km; in other words, the Audi A3 Sportback consumes 1 litre of fuel for every 20km travelled.

If you decide to purchase the Audi A3 Sportback, you can also get a rebate of $15,000 under the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle [CEV] Scheme Banding.

Truly, the five greatest strengths of the Audi A3 Sportback are sportsmanship, driving dynamics, comfort, functionality and style.

We had an awesome time with the Audi A3 Sportback Car and we want to thank Audi Singapore for hosting us. Personally, I really like the Audi A3 Sportback and if I have the dough, I would have bought it! Or maybe, I should emigrate to Australia permanently and live there because the Audi A3 Sportback only cost Australian Dollars $35,600 [equivalent to Singapore Dollars $43,535]. That is about a quarter of the price for an Audi A3 Sportback here in Singapore!

From Audi A3 Sportback 2013

For more updates and information about the Audi A3 Sportback, do check out Audi Singapore’s Website!

In our next “Automobile” Post Series, we will be featuring the Citroen C4 Diesel Variant so stay tuned!