Great Things come in Small Packages: Volkswagen Polo GTi

The latest generation of Volkswagen's Polo GTI made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October and is now available to order from Retailers across the UK, with first customer deliveries due in March 2015. It will cost £18,850 RRP OTR for the three door manual with a £630 premium for five doors and £1,245 for the DSG gearbox.

The new Polo GTI is powered by a 1.8-litre (1,798 cc) turbocharged petrol engine delivering 192 PS between 4,200 and 6,200 rpm (5,400-6,200 DSG), marking an increase of 12 PS over the outgoing model. And unlike the previous Polo GTI, this latest generation is available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

With a manual gearbox, the Polo has a maximum torque of 320 Nm (236 lbs ft) available between 1,450 and 4,200 rpm. For the DSG these figures are 250 Nm (184 lbs ft) between 1,250 and 5,300 rpm due to technical differences in the design parameters of the gearboxes.

The Polo GTI lives up to its performance badge, reaching 62 mph from standstill in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 146 mph. But the Polo GTI's power does not come at the expense of efficiency, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 50.4 mpg and corresponding carbon dioxide emissions of 129 g/km for the DSG (47.1 mpg and 139 g/km for the manual).

The Polo GTI follows the design cues of its 'big brother', the Golf GTI. Compared with the standard Polo, new bumpers, GTI insignia, distinctive 17-inch 'Parabolica' alloy wheels and red radiator grille strips and honeycomb grille distinguish it from the rest of the range, along with standard sports suspension (lowered by 10 mm at the front and 15 mm at the back).

At the front, LED lights are standard for the first time, while at the rear a GTI roof spoiler, taillight clusters in Dark Red, the black grained diffuser and chrome dual exhaust pipes continue the sporty theme.

On the inside, the Polo GTI features a leather sports steering wheel with logo and red stitching harking back to the Golf GTI, as do the gear and handbrake levers and floor mats with red beading. The check design 'Clark' cloth seats with black bolsters have been a GTI emblem since the first GTI in 1976.

The Polo GTI has ESC Sport (electronic stability control). Like on the Golf GTI this enables the ESC to be adapted for use on a track. It works in two stages: first the traction control is switched off, then ESC Sport is activated which raises the ESC threshold and delays intervention (without ESC being completely deactivated). XDS+ is also standard: another Golf GTI 'import', XDS compensates for the understeer which is typical of front-wheel drive cars, meaning driving characteristics are more precise and neutral.

Available as an option on the new Polo GTI is a Sport Performance Pack with Dynamic Chassis Control which offers sportier steering, accelerator response and engine noise inside the car.


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