It would be tempting to book back-to-back supercars and opulent luxury limousines and make WhichCar an endless parade of expensive, fast and stunning machines, but that’s not what this series is about. Instead, we try to bring a broad spread of everything you’ll find on the street and in the showroom and, yes, that does sometimes include the ridiculous.
But we almost got to the end of season two without acknowledging one of the automotive world’s most unsung heroes – the hot hatch. With their sensible hatchback origins and practical features, these giant-slaying hatchbacks often fly below the radar and only reveal their, at times, incredible potential when you jump behind the wheel.
So that’s what this special was all about – singing the praises of one of our favourite classes of car, demonstrating how versatile they can be, and having a whole lot of fun in the process.
The episode opens with a drag race between Porsche’s venerable 911 and Mercedes-AMG’s new A45 S to illustrate how potent the hot-hatch has become. While the 911 beats the Merc by a whisker, if you watch carefully, the result could have been quite different.
At the start, Alex manages a slightly better start than Andy which, at the other end of the Heathcote race way might have been the difference between victory and defeat. Something tells me we are going to need a rematch.
Some of the other segments for this episode were filmed at one of our favourite venues – the Bryant Park Hill Climb circuit in the Haunted Hills. It might only be a relatively short and narrow track, but it is a veritable pocket-rocket playground.
Before filming could start each day however, one of the first duties was to round up the cows that had escaped from surrounding fields and ask them nicely to leave.
Although you only get to see a handful of cars on track, the i30 N and Golf R were actually part of a massive 12-car line up to find an affordable high-performance hero.
For the Hyundai’s road loop though, we took it to Arthur’s Seat Road – a wonderful ribbon of tarmac known to driving enthusiasts and sightseers alike for its combination of involving twists and turns, to a backdrop of stunning views over Port Phillip Bay.
And for the spots in between the segments Hyundai generously lent us more hardware – not just another example of its i30 N but the forecourt in front of its Sydney headquarters to set up our group hatchback shots.
In addition to the Hyundai, our group shots consisted of an Audi RS3, while the current-generation Renault Megane RS was joined by a 2007 example of the first generation for historical context. This particular R26 example had been race prepared to compete in road rallies and has enjoyed significant success including Targa events. The hot hatch really is the do-it-all high-performance car.
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