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Video: super hatch drift modes tested

Rory takes to the track in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and new VW Golf R to find out what the fuss is with their tyre-torturing drift modes

Drift modes became a thing on hot hatches when Ford’s engineers found a new use for off-the-shelf all-wheel drive components more commonly used in SUVs and crossovers like the Range Rover Evoque and Mini Countryman. Inspired by the YouTube antics of Ken Block they realised this supposedly grip enhancing technology could actually be turned on its head and, fitted to the previous Focus RS, turn a hot-hatch into a drift machine.
Inevitably rivals wanted a piece of the action and now Mercedes-AMG and – most recently – Volkswagen have introduced drift modes to their latest super hatches. Do they work, though? And why would you want to pay extra for technology that deliberately makes your car go sideways? Rory’s here to wreck some tyres so you don’t have to, addressing the problem that arose with his first Golf R review when Volkswagen sent him a test car without the optional R Performance Package (and its Drift mode) included. Second bite of the cherry and here we have a Golf R with the correct options box ticked, Drift mode enabled and a track to put it to the test. Because, being grown-up for a minute, this really isn’t a feature you want to be exploring on the public road. All it needs now is a benchmark, driftable super hatch to compare against. Enter the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, the bananas top spec version of the hot A-Class. Rory has previous here too, too, having compared the 421 horsepower A45 against its 306 horsepower A35 little brother. No two ways about it, the A45 is a monster, and puts a fresh twist on AMG’s hooligan traditions. As Rory discovered last time, even with all-wheel drive, it loves to go sideways. Does the Golf R’s Drift mode stand comparison against this toughest of tests? And is it enough to inject a sense of fun previous versions of the R have perhaps lacked? Watch the video to find out and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

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