Volkswagen Polo 1.4 Polo GTI (DSG) 5 Door Review
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Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai
21 May 2011
 

Volkswagen’s junior Golf GTI is finally here and our resident hot hatch freak has put it through its paces. Here’s Raymond Lai’s verdict on the Polo GTI.

Introduction, styling

While the Golf GTI has always taken the limelight as Volkswagen's halo model, hot versions of the Polo have always shied away from the attention. It was with the Mk 2 Polo that Volkswagen first introduced the concept of a hot Polo. The Mk 2 Polo G40 offered genuine hot hatch performance (0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds) thanks to its 115bhp 1.4-litre supercharged motor.

With the Mk III Polo, the marketing boffins in Wolfsburg decided to offer a Polo GTI model for some European markets. The first Polo GTI was a failure though - just like the Mk IV Golf GTI of that period, the Mk III Polo GTI offered lukewarm dynamics and performance. Volkswagen had another go at a hot Polo GTI with the Mk IV which offered styling cues from the rejuvenated Mk V GTI and hence made itself desirable in the markets where it was offered even though it only had a meager 150 horses from its 1.8-litre 20-valve turbo motor. So Volkswagen went back to the drawing board when developing the next hot Polo and the result is the car you see here - the new generation Polo GTI.

The new Polo GTI means that it will be the first time that a hot Polo is being offered for the Singapore market. On paper, the Polo GTI has all the right weapons in its arsenal to be a properly fun and exhilarating hot hatch so the million dollar question here is - can the Polo GTI be as accomplished a hot hatch as its Golf GTI but in a smaller scale?

Like its Golf GTI big brother, the Polo GTI is offered with either a three-door or a five-door body style with only $2,000 separating the two when it comes to their price tags. The five-door, tested here obviously appeals to more practical types or the racy family man while the three-door model is for those who want a Polo that looks even more unique as lesser Polos, bar the rare BlueMotion aren't offered with three-doors.

Visually, the Polo GTI shouts GTI right away thanks to its familiar GTI styling cues from the Golf GTI like the deeper front bumper, the red surround and honeycomb inserts for the radiator grille, the rear bumper with its diffuser look, sizable rear roof spoiler, 17-inch Denver alloy wheels hiding red brake calipers, GTI badges on the grille and boot lid, slightly wider wheel arches, twin rear exhaust tips and its lowered stance.

Even though, the wheels fill the Polo's wheel arches rather convincingly indeed to compliment the lowered suspension, the hot Polo does look a tad subtle, understated and even restrained, especially when compared with outlandish and yobbish junior hot hatches like the Opel Corsa OPC with its myriad of scoops, vents and spoilers, and considering the amount of go the motor under the bonnet can potentially deliver for the hot Polo.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1390cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 180bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 2000rpm
Power to Weight 141.8 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 6.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 229 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG)
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type 5 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(3976 x 1682 x 1452) mm
Wheelbase 2468 mm
Turning Circle 5.3 metres
Kerb Weight 1269 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 L

Brakes