Glen Hill
4 minute read
26 Apr 2015
10:00 am

Polo GTI is superior engineering

Glen Hill

Volkswagen have introduced a new version of the Polo GTI sporting a 1.8 litre TSI engine and delivering 141kW.

The VW Polo GTI. Picture: Supplied

Customers now have an option of a manual six-speed gearbox or a seven-speed DSG. However, the choice is not going to be that simple – the reason being the torque outputs are significantly different. DSG fans will have to make do with 250Nm instead of the 320Nm available for the manual gearbox.

All because the technical limitations of the seven-speed DSG require that it has to deal with more than the 250Nm. This does not seem like a particularly good excuse in the world of hot hatches, but that is how it is for now. As the manual will be available only in a couple of months, the difference remains to seen, but on paper it is not insignificant.

I would not describe the DSG as underpowered, but there were times when exiting corners on a twisty pass I thought the extra 70Nm would have been welcome. Interestingly, however, Volkswagen are claiming the same 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds for both derivatives, no doubt possible because of the DSG’s controlled launch. The same is true of the 236km/h claimed top speed.

The exterior of the Polo GTI features new bumpers, distinctively flared door sills, the GTI logo on the front wing and classic GTI insignia.

The Polo GTI is also available for the first time with optional LED headlights as well as LED daytime running lights. The Polo GTI’s sporty appeal is further enhanced by new 17-inch Parabolicca alloy wheels with GTI styling. At the rear, the GTI roof spoiler, tail light clusters in dark red, the black-grained diffuser and the chrome dual exhaust tailpipes all add to the theme.

The VW Polo GTI. Picture: Supplied

The VW Polo GTI. Picture: Supplied

The design of the interior is accentuated by the classic GTI red elements. The leather sports steering wheel, adapted from the Golf GTI, has contrasting red stitching, as do the gear lever and handbrake lever. The driver and front passenger have top-class heated sports seats. Features such as the instrument cluster with GTI design, black headliner and aluminium-look pedal caps complete the dynamic interior ambience.

The Composition Media system with colour touchscreen offers functions such as Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phone and audio streaming and a proximity sensor (other menu details are shown when a hand approaches the screen). The system also has CD-player, USB port, MP3 functionality, auxiliary and SD-card input for external audio source and six loudspeakers.

For the first time Volkswagen are offering electronically adjustable dampers in the Polo GTI. These form the core technology basis of the new, optional Sport Select suspension, which for the GTI is always available in conjunction with the optional ‘Sport Performance Kit’ (sportier tuning covering a wide range of parameters, all at the push of a button). This can be adapted for use on the racetrack. On the standard versions we drove at launch, the suspension was pretty firm – nice on good roads but a bit harsh when conditions deteriorated.

The chassis of the GTI is 10mm lower at the front and 15mm lower at the rear compared with the less powerful Polo derivatives.

Electronically adjustable dampers in the Polo GTI form the core of the new, optional Sport Select suspension, which for the GTI is available only 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. In addition, the Sport Performance Kit gives the electromechanical power steering an even sportier feel. The same applies to accelerator pedal response. The engine noise heard inside the car also changes due to the sound actuator.

The VW Polo GTI. Picture: Supplied

The VW Polo GTI. Picture: Supplied

And finally, if the new Polo GTI is equipped with the 7-speed DSG the transmission changes automatically from D to S mode. This option will be available with the introduction of the manual transmission in the second half of 2015. The Polo GTI is equipped with a fade resistant 16-inch brake system. The front wheels have ventilated 310mm brake discs. At the back 230mm discs are used. The red brake callipers are a characteristic feature of the GTI.

The GTI also features the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision to avoid secondary collisions or reduce their severity. The driver can “override” the system at any time – for example, by noticeably accelerating. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking with greater deceleration than the system deceleration.