Polo GTI 1.4 TSI 5-door
just wanna have fun!
And what better way than in the new
GTI version of
VWs latest Polo
it more than makes up for its small
footprint with big (as in 142mph!)
THE UPSIDE TO DOWNSIZING is how car manufacturers have made their engines
smaller in capacity yet they now produce more power, deliver better economy
and lower CO2 emissions and go faster!
And it doesn't stop there the downsized cars might be less
bulky but they're packed with all the equipment and technologies of larger cars.
And can be just as rewarding to drive.
A particularly good example of quality downsizing is the supermini-sized Volkswagen
Polo which, although outsold by its Golf big brother, is proving to be really
popular over 45,000 UK sales last year and, in the first five
months of this year, nearly 20,000 sold.
Polo GTI uses a revised 1.4-litre TSI twincharged (supercharger and turbocharger)
178bhp four-cylinder petrol engine that's 29bhp more powerful
than the previous generation's unit. Just to prove that smaller stature doesn't
cramp performance, the Polo GTI has a top speed of a quite mind-boggling 142mph!
And it's quick off the line, too zero to 62mph takes a sharp 6.9
0-62mph in 6.9 and
a possible 47.9mpg
it's not all top-end power: the GTI's supercharger eliminates turbocharger lag
and provides a high 184lb ft of torque from 2,000rpm.
Neither is this impressive performance achieved at the expense of fuel economy
or high tailpipe emissions; the latest version is 25 per cent more fuel-efficient:
the official combined cycle figure is 47.9mpg (33.4mpg on a brief test drive
on country roads). And with CO2 emissions of 139g/km, road tax comes in at a
not-so-bad £115 a year.
The new Polo GTI is available in three- and five-door hatchback bodystyles with
prices starting at £18,795 for the three-door and £19,415 for the five-door.
The GTI's 178bhp TSI engine is mated to a compact seven-speed, twin-clutch DSG
gearbox that transmits drive to the front wheels. Greater traction and less
torque-steer are assured in all conditions thanks to the standard XDS electronic
cross-axle traction control system, which is brilliant.
Powerful, go-faster small cars can be a real handful with unpredictable front-end
grip and extreme torque-steer, especially during fast cornering, even on dry
roads. The Polo GTI's XDS system irons out these traits without, thankfully,
dulling the performance or driving enjoyment.
is the balance of the Polo in general, and the GTI in particular, that impresses.
Naturally the GTI features substantial revisions over the standard car, including
unique gear ratios and the relocation of the battery from the engine bay to
the boot in order to improve weight distribution.
The Polo 1.4 GTI
a brilliant package
a miniature Golf GTI
that goes just as fast,
drinks less fuel,
is cheaper for taxes,
costs much less to buy
and is of the same
high build quality...
springs and dampers are fitted to sharpen responses and also give the GTI a
15mm lower ride height than the conventional Polo. The GTI also has slightly
narrower front and rear tracks (1,443mm and 1,437mm respectively; a reduction
of 20mm and 19mm) than the standard Polo a trait shared between
the conventional Golf and the Golf GTI.
of which, the Polo GTI's exterior styling cues are carried over from the Golf
GTI, with a new front bumper featuring a deep airdam joined by a honeycomb grille
element with horizontal red strips and a simple GTI badge; subtle sill extensions
wrap around the lower edge of the body while at the back a new rear bumper features
a small diffuser and a pair of chrome-tipped exhausts. 17-inch 'Monza' alloy
wheels and uprated brakes with red callipers complete the 'GTI' look.
Inside, sports seats are finished in red-and-black tartan material, plus there's
a flat-bottomed, red-stitched GTI steering wheel complete with gearshift paddles.
Other GTI spec kit includes air conditioning, front and rear power windows,
electric door mirrors, fully compatible sound system and split folding 60:40
The Polo 1.4 GTI is a brilliant package a miniature Golf GTI that
goes just as fast, drinks less fuel, is cheaper for taxes, costs much less to
buy and is of the same high build quality. Anyone downsizing from, say, a Golf
2.0 GTI, will suffer no hardship whatsoever. Because the performance is virtually
the same, the only real difference is the extra £6,215 the Golf GTI costs along
with its lower fuel economy and higher road and company car taxes.
Volkswagen Polo GTI 1.4 TSI 5-door | £19,415
Maximum speed: 142mph | 0-62mph: 6.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 178bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 139g/km