The British engineering firm which gave the world ‘drift mode’ has offered a glimpse at next-generation hot hatches.
GKN, which supplies a torque-vectoring differential for Ford's Focus RS and Holden's high-performance Commodore VXR, says its next-gen equipment will offer manufacturers an opportunity to bolt a powerful torque-vectoring electric motor and plug-in hybrid battery unit into the back of hot hatches, transforming them into all-wheel-drive machines with performance and economy current models can’t match.
The manufacturer is testing its technology using a modified Mercedes-AMG GLA45 hot hatch, the high-riding brother to AMG’s popular A45 machine.
Tossing the standard car’s front differential into the bin, the test mule sends 280kW of turbocharged power to the front wheels through a gearbox equipped with GKN’s twin clutch system that sends torque to the right and left wheel through independent clutch packs promising “rapid and precise adjustments between the front left and right wheels”.
Unlike the standard GLA 45, there is no mechanical link between the front and rear axles.
Instead, GKN’s eTwinsterX system uses a rear-mounted motor with 120kW and 210Nm outputs to send power to the rear wheels. The manufacturer says its prototype offers “unprecedented all-wheel torque vectoring capabilities”, lending the sort of traction and agility chassis engineers crave from performance cars.
It also promises to be quick, with combined outputs totalling 400kW and 685Nm – enough to reach 100km/h in just over three seconds.
Sophisticated computers in control of it all allow the car to run in hybrid, dedicated petrol or electric-only modes.
We don’t know when the technology will be available in a production car, or how much it will cost. But it’s safe to say the introduction of hybrid tech in enthusiast models should result in electrifying performance.
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