Spicy Polo

Raymond Lai
6 May 2011

Volkswagen last week held a preview of the long awaited Polo GTI for the media at the Marina Bay Golf Club.

Hot Polo

Held on the 25th of March, the event featured a driving element for the media to get a feel of the Golf GTI's kid brother. To show off the Polo's dynamism and agility, Volkswagen has set up a tight slalom course for us to put their latest model through its paces.

The original performance variant of the Polo was unveiled in 1986 in the form of the G40 Coupé - a car that mixed a fast-revving, 113bhp, supercharged engine with a low kerbweight and sharpened responses.

Fast forward 25 years and the new Polo GTI bears similarities with the G40. At its heart is a 1.4-litre TSI engine that uses a supercharger from idle through to 3,000 rpm at which point the turbocharger cuts in to provide boost. The result is an output of 180bhp at 6,200 rpm and 250Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm which, when aligned with a 1,184kg kerbweight, allows the Polo GTI to accelerate from rest to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 229km/h.

The TSI engine is linked to a compact seven-speed, twin-clutch DSG gearbox that channels drive through the front axle. In addition, the Polo GTI is fitted with the XDS differential, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling. The XDS system is a functional extension of the electronic limited slip differential (EDL), which is a part of the standard ESP system. In order to sharpen responses, the Polo GTI is fitted with new springs and dampers which results in a 15 mm lower ride height than the conventional Polo.

On the tight slalom course at the launch venue, the hot Polo certainly felt nimble and agile through the cones thanks to a well-weighted steering and tight body control. The engine was a willing performer - 6.9 seconds to 100km/h is the exact same time a 210bhp Golf GTI will reach three-figure speeds from rest after all.

Externally, the hot Polo can be differentiated from lesser models via its typical GTI styling tweaks like the 17-inch Denver alloys, honeycombe inserts for the front grille and bumper intakes as well as the red trim on the grille among other changes.

The changes continue inside the Polo GTI with revised dials, a new, flat-bottomed GTI steering wheel complete with small gearshift paddles and contrasting red stitching, aluminium pedals and new, heavily bolstered front sports seats finished in tartan trim. Subtle gloss black trim covers the centre console while the headlining is now finished in black.

Volkswagen is breaking new ground for the market launch of the Polo GTI in Singapore. It will be presented to customers exclusively on the Internet. Visitors to the dedicated launch site www.pologti.sg can play exciting games conceptualised in Singapore for the Polo GTI and have the chance to win great prizes.

Both three and five-door models are offered with the latter priced at $118,800 including COE. Look out for a more in depth review of the road test here coming up soon!


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