Volkswagen Bucks the Downsizing Trend With a New, Two-Liter Polo GTI

Automotive News 5 September 15, 2017 by

Flying a little under the radar at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is the latest version of the supermini Volkswagen Polo.

The headlines are pretty much exactly what you’d expect: it’s longer, wider and bigger on the inside. In fact this Mk6 Polo, based on the new MQB platform, is almost the same size as a Mk4 Golf now.

But it’s the hot hatch GTI version that’s caught our eye. With the up! GTI arriving soon, Volkswagen has a need to turn the Polo up a little to make room below.

The heart of the new Polo GTI is a 2-liter, turbocharged engine, with 197hp. It’s 200cc and 8hp more than the Mk5 model, but the 0-60mph acceleration figure has remained unchanged at 6.5 seconds.

There’s now a standard 236lbft of torque across the GTI range. Previous automatic models had to live with 185lbft, but it will be up by 51lbft across the range when the new Polo GTI launches.

All the power hits the front wheels via a 6-speed DSG transmission. A manual model, with a 6-speed gearbox, will arrive shortly after launch. Volkswagen fits the XDS electronic locking differential to keep the front axle in order.

The Polo GTI has sports suspension as standard, lowered by just over half an inch. Retuned dampers and springs make the driving experience suitably athletic. You can also specify the car with “Sport Select” that includes adjustable dampers with Normal and Sport modes. VW fits 17-inch wheels as standard, with an optional 18-inch wheel.

The GTI also gets a unique body kit, LED headlights, tartan seats, red brake calipers and the classic red GTI stripe.

On the inside the Polo GTI sports a new 10.25-inch digital dashboard, called “Active Info Display” digital dash. Alongside the tartan seats, there’s a lot of red trim. The regular Polo can be reportedly ordered with up to 13 interior colors, but the GTI seems to be stuck on red.

Of course the entire new Polo range is roomier, and so is the GTI. Trunk space is up by 25% to 351 liters, so it’s more practical too.

Volkswagen hasn’t yet finalized the prices of the Polo range, but we expect it will be similar to its predecessor. This means the entry level 65hp car should be around £12,500, while the three-door manual GTI may start at around £20,000.

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