Just when you thought the dust had settled it looks like the Über-hatch battle is about to kick off with a new round of record bhp figures.
For a while the Audi RS3 had been the winner in the Top Trumps hot hatch deck. With 2.5-litres packed full of 5-cylinder goodness, it was good for 336bhp. Then BMW brought the M135i into play, with its twin-turbo 320bhp 3.0-litre engine. It might not have matched the RS3 in terms of sheer grunt but it made up for that with a rear-wheel drive chassis and a sixth cylinder.
Mercedes, feeling a little left out, then decided to let AMG loose on their compact A-class. As a result the A45 AMG was born, raising the game to 360bhp from a turbocharged 4-cylinder with a scarcely believable 2.0-litre capacity.
The A45 has been sat at the top of the food chain for a while now but it looks like Audi are getting the next RS3 ready. The big question is, will it have the necessary output to topple AMG from their perch?
If the rumours are true there’s every reason to expect it will. The RS3 is supposedly keeping its 5-cylinder engine, which is a big selling point in a world populated by blown 4-pots. Listen carefully to the test mule in this video and you can make out the unmistakeable sound of 5 pistons singing in harmony, betraying the attempt to disguise this is a humble S3.
Expect power to be slightly higher than the A45, somewhere in the region of 370PS. The familiar Quattro drivetrain and S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox will enable the RS3 to easily hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds or less. Enough to see off its rivals.
2015 is shaping up to be another interesting year.