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Polo GTI reworked


THE Polo GTI along with is Golf GTI sibling are hot hatch stalwarts in South Africa, and for good reason. Recently, however, three new small performance hatches have come along to spoil the Polo’s fun in the form of Ford’s Fiesta ST, Peugeot’s 208 GTI and Renault’s Clio IV 200EDC. This has prompted the people at VW to update the Polo GTI - due locally in 2015 - in a big way.

Design upgrades

Much like the normal Polo the facelifted variant gets new bumpers with a bigger air intake, the same GTI insignia around the vehicle, signature honeycomb grille and for the first time, optional LED headlights in conjunction with the LED daytime running lights.

In side profile, you’ll notice new alloy wheels and flared door sills while at the rear there’s a GTI roof spoiler, tail light clusters in dark red, black grained diffuser and chrome dual exhaust tailpipes.

Interior thrills

The interior gets what the brand calls mixed GTI insignias, which include red accents, a leather sports steering wheel from the Golf GTI with contrasting red stitching along with the gear lever and handbrake lever.

There are also basic new Polo interior upgrades such as the new instrument cluster with its 3D tubular look and redesigned layout of the controls on the redesigned centre console. The upper control level has been expanded from seven to nine buttons, while interior specialists have also optimised the controls for the air conditioning system that is standard in the Polo GTI.

Everyday practicality

Other markets will receive two and four-door models of the GTI, however, we’re likely to get the four-door variant only. With five people on board, the Polo GTI offers a load capacity of 204 litres. With the rear seat bench folded down, the luggage compartment extends up to 882 litres.

Progressive infotainment world

The Polo GTI's radio and radio navigation is the modular infotainment system (MIB) with Bluetooth audio streaming, a proximity sensor, two-finger map zooming in navigation mode, and a wireless Comfort mobile phone interface. The higher specified models will also have the Mirror Link system, which allows Android smart phones to be linked to the system, providing the use of mobile applications on the touchscreen of the Polo infotainment system.


The biggest change for the new Polo GTI sees it ditch the 1.4-litre turbo/supercharged motor in favour of the tried and tested third generation EA888 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol motor. The motor produces 141kW which is 9kW up on the previous unit while saving nine kilograms of engine weight thanks to the single-scroll turbocharger and thin-wall crankcase, aluminium bolts and integrated exhaust manifold.

Torque differs depending on the transmission selected, which brings us to another new development in the updated model. A six-speed manual gearbox will now be made available with 320Nm on tap while the seven-speed DSG produces 250Nm. This means that both variants go from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds and on to 236km/h. However, the DSG will be lighter at the fuel pumps with a claimed combined consumption figure of 5.6 litres/100km while the manual version is said to use 6.0 litres/100km.

Suspension wise

The Polo GTI is also equipped with sports suspension as standard, lowering its stance on the road by 15mm. The technical basis for this comes from a set-up with a McPherson-type front axle and a torsion beam axle for the rear wheels. One of the factors responsible for this is the stronger anti-roll bar on the front axle. Replacing the seven-inch with 7.5-inch wide alloy wheels has also contributed to the improved handling; the newly designed 17-inch wheels come with 215/40 tyres.

For the first time, Volkswagen is offering electronically adjustable dampers in the Polo GTI. These form part of the new, optional Sport Select suspension, which for the GTI is only available in conjunction with the Sport Performance kit. When the driver presses the Sport button (in the upper area of the centre console), this activates an electro-mechanical switching valve in the dampers, which alters their tuning from this sporty yet comfort-oriented basic setting to the stiffer characteristic of a true sports suspension.

All the difference

The XDS+ electronic differential lock system is integrated in the electronic stabilisation programme (ESC) for improved vehicle dynamics. This system, a refinement of the XDS first installed in the larger Golf, increases agility, using brake interventions on the inside wheels on both axles when cornering to reduce the required steering angle. The system reduces understeer and improves traction and has been further refined versus the system in the Golf.

Article written by Autodealer
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