ONCE considered the populist performer among the hot hatchback crowd, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R have been challenged by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi this year.
It isn’t that the GTI and R are less popular – they remain so with 1440 sales and 1201 sales (all figures given between January and November 2017) respectively.
That’s 2641 combined, accounting for 16 per cent of the Golf’s 16,695 sales. But the pricier R’s stellar performance also reverberates through its price-point rivals. BMW has shifted 662 examples of 125i and 506 units of M135i/M140i, representing 59 per cent of the 1 Series’ 1976-unit haul.
Sales of 230i (256) and M235i/M240i (352) account for 97 per cent of the 2 Series’ 628-unit tally, and the quartet combined total 1776 sales, or 865 behind the Volkswagen hot hatchbacks. It takes a Benz trio to beat the Golfs, meanwhile.
The A250 Sport alone comes close to the GTI with 1324 sales – only 116 behind. Then add 638 for A45, although it is actually beaten by the CLA45 (648) that also ousts GLA45 (290). The tables turn lower down, with GLA250 (1059) outselling CLA250 (648).
All also represent 45-to-50 per cent of A/CLA/GLA-Class sales, and their total tally of 4607 is tough to beat. Audi’s figures are harder to dissect, because RS3 Sportback (141) hasn’t been on-sale for the whole year and S3 Sportback (524) switched to a facelifted model. But RS3 sedan (440) exploded, despite only going on-sale in June – equating to a CLA45-beating 880-unit annual forecast.
So how many buyers have shopped for small performance cars between $40,000 and $90,000 this year, between Audi, BMW, Benz and Volkswagen? 10,370 on the figures available. By comparison sub-$80,000 sports cars achieved 15,922 sales over the same period – 8714 of them being Ford Mustangs.