We recently broke the unfortunate news the new Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Clubsport is not destined for South African roads. That got us thinking: which other interesting hot hatches have been ruled out for local introductions?
Here are five we would have loved to have seen in SA…
Ford Fiesta ST
Unveiled as long ago as February 2017, Ford’s feisty little Fiesta ST draws its urge from a turbocharged three-cylinder, 1,5-litre petrol engine, which sends 147 kW and 290 N.m to the front axle via a six-speed manual gearbox. The result is a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in a claimed 6,5 seconds and a top speed of 232 km/h. In July 2018, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa confirmed we wouldn’t be seeing the Fiesta ST on local roads “due to our fuel quality”. A great pity seeing as the previous-generation Fiesta ST was an absolute gem...
Ford Focus ST
The covers came off the new Focus ST in February 2019, boasting Ford's turbocharged 2,3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine linked to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic transmission. The EcoBoost mill makes 206 kW and 420 N.m and facilitates a top speed of 250 km/h, with the manual model hitting three figures in a claimed 5,7 seconds. While Ford SA has yet to officially rule out a local introduction, the fact it has "no plans" to offer the standard fourth-generation Focus hatch suggests we won’t ever see the hot version.
Hyundai Veloster N
While Hyundai’s i30 N hot hatch has caused quite a stir in South Africa, the Veloster N isn’t offered locally. The reason? Well, the hottest version of the Veloster isn’t currently built in right-hand-drive form. Revealed in January 2018 with a 2,0-litre turbocharged petrol engine cranking out 205 kW and 353 N.m, the Veloster N was updated in April 2020, with the Korean firm adding the option of a new eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission and some extra oomph.
Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R
While Renault South Africa’s Mégane range includes the 221 kW Trophy derivative, the more extreme, limited-edition Trophy-R is not on the local menu, with the company telling us in July 2019 a local introduction was not in its planning “to date”. Despite employing the same turbocharged 1,8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine (worth an unchanged 221 kW and 400 N.m) and six-speed manual gearbox as the Trophy, the lightweight model (which ditches items such as the rear seats) hits 100 km/h from standstill in a claimed 5,4 seconds, representing an improvement of three tenths. Top speed comes in at 262 km/h.
Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Clubsport
Revealed earlier in October 2020, the Golf 8 GTI Clubsport boasts 221 kW and 400 N.m from its EA888 turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, which are advantages of 41 kW and 30 N.m compared with the standard GTI. All that oomph is directed to the front axle via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, resulting in a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in “under six seconds” and an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. VW SA says the flagship version of VW’s front-driven hot hatch range is “only available for the European fuel emission levels”. The standard Golf GTI, however, is still scheduled for a local introduction in the first quarter of 2021.