We were recently given the keys to three of the hottest hatches that are currently on sale in Malaysia, and admittedly, curiosity got the better of us. We thought amongst ourselves: “We know which one will be the fastest in an outright drag race, but how will each of them perform on a closed racing circuit?”

Before anything, we’d like you to meet the trio, starting with the car that started the whole hot hatch phenomenon since its birth, the Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf R. It has a winning formula right from the get-go – a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine resides under the bonnet, making 290 PS and 380 Nm of torque and is married to a fast-shifting seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive. On paper, that’s enough for a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.1 seconds, before topping out at 250 km/h.

When going up against an industry icon, one must fight fire with fire, and fire is exactly what defines the FK8 Honda Civic Type R. It’s powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, tuned to make 310 PS and 400 Nm of torque. Unlike the Golf R, the driveline recipe here is simple – six-speed manual with auto rev-match and good old front-wheel drive. On paper, the century sprint is dusted in 5.8 seconds, and top speed is rated at 272 km/h.

On the subject of hot hatches, one must never gloss over a formidable French contender. After all, this one is a fierce rival to the Civic Type R, and it’s none other than the Renault Megane RS. On sale here in the sole RS 280 Cup guise, we gained access to the Orange Tonic unit that’s fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and 4Control all-wheel steering.

Motive power comes from a smaller 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing a healthy 280 PS and 390 Nm of torque. Performance-wise, it accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, while the top speed is 255 km/h (250 km/h for the auto). As implied in the name, the Megane gets the more track-focused Cup chassis, featuring rally-style four hydraulic compression bump stops for better handling, along with a Torsen limited-slip differential.

For pricing, the Megane RS is the most affordable model of the three, priced at RM279,888 before insurance. That’s followed by the Golf R at RM305,562, and finally the Civic Type R at RM330k. When pitted against each other on a race track, who do you think will come out on top? Well, stay tuned to find out the answer in the next episode of Driven Web Series, which airs this Friday on August 30, 2019. Until then, be sure to watch the video above to get a small taste of what’s brewing ;)