Bat­tle of the hatches

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

There is no au­to­matic gear­box avail­able in the ST for now, while both hot VWs of­fer a dual-clutch trans­mis­sion op­tion for $2500.

The new king of the hot hatches ar­rives in Oc­to­ber when BMW in­tro­duces its stonk­ing new M135i, priced from $68,400 (plus on-road costs) and $72,400 for the auto. Pow­ered by a po­tent 3.0-litre tur­bocharged six-cylin­der engine, the new M135i (above) will com­fort­ably see off all hot-hatch com­pe­ti­tion, ac­cel­er­at­ing from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 sec­onds in eight-speed auto form, al­most as fast as the mighty M3 Coupe, and 5.1 sec­onds with the six-speed man­ual.

This makes the M135i seven-tenths of a sec­ond faster than the cur­rent hot-hatch king, Audi’s S3 Sport­back, and the re­lated Volk­swa­gen Golf R, both in auto form and pow­ered by 2.0-litre four-cylin­der tur­bos driv­ing all four wheels.

The rear-drive BMW un­der­cuts the price of the Audi S3 by $3300, but the $4000 pre­mium for the ac­claimed fast-shift­ing eight-speed semi-au­to­matic trans­mis­sion makes it $700 more ex­pen­sive than its most di­rect ri­val.

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