Polo sib­ling ri­vals Golf

The Golf GTI has come un­der at­tack from within its ranks. Neil Dowl­ing re­ports

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

ABUD­GET-priced fire­ball has been added to the cars­Guide Car of the Year win­ner. The Polo GTI, launched in Aus­tralia on the day its smaller sis­ter won the cov­eted COTY as the nation’s best car, has been launched at an un­ex­pect­edly af­ford­able $27,790 — in­clud­ing a dual-clutch DSG trans­mis­sion as stan­dard.

Even more amaz­ing, the Polo GTI uses a downsized 1.4-litre en­gine yet runs the same 6.9 sec­ond 100km/h sprint as the 2-litre Golf GTI — a car that costs at least $11,000 more.


VOLK­SWA­GEN Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Jutta Friese says it’s a great price for a great car and rep­re­sents ex­cel­lent value for money.

She says part of the price — which comes in about $5000 un­der ex­pec­ta­tions — is about the favourable ex­change rate.

It’s very much in our favour, she says, and it will have fur­ther im­pact on new mod­els for 2011, in­clud­ing Jetta, Pas­sat and Touareg.

The Polo is avail­able with one en­gine — the turbo-su­per­charged 1.4 TSI — and one trans­mis­sion, a seven-speed DSG.

But buy­ers have a choice of body styles — a three-door ($27,790) or a five-door ($28,990).

This com­pares with the big sis­ter Golf GTI at $38,990 for the three door and $40,490 for the five door — and that’s the man­ual trans­mis­sion price. DSG adds about $3000, in­di­cat­ing the price gap be­tween the two sib­lings is about $14,000.

Given the lat­est Polo is the same size as the first-gen­er­a­tion Golf, the choice could be a no­brainer, given per­for­mance is iden­ti­cal.

The GTI is built in Spain, com­pared with the other Polo vari­ants which come from South Africa.


THE 1.4-litre TSI en­gine uses a su­per­charger and a tur­bocharger to clev­erly get power up to 132kW and torque to 250Nm. This com­pares with the pre­vi­ous model which had a 1.8-litre tur­bocharged en­gine for 110kW and 220Nm.

Volk­swa­gen claims the new Polo GTI also gets 6.1 litres/100km com­pared with last year’s model at 8.0 litres/ 100km. It cov­ers the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9 sec­onds, com­pared with the pre­vi­ous model’s 8.2 sec­onds. All this is be­cause of the bril­liant torque, power and ver­sa­til­ity of the su­per-turbo de­sign, though it’s aided by the rapid changes of the DSG.

Sus­pen­sion and steer­ing re­main as per GTI stan­dards, which is an ex­cel­lent com­pro­mise be­tween han­dling and com­fort.


THE Golf-like Polo looks the part. Volk­swa­gen has trimmed the baby hot­tie up to look like the Golf GTI — they may be mis­taken on the road — so gets the three main colours of red, white and black to­gether with sil­ver and blue.

The sports seats fea­ture high bol­sters and, like the orig­i­nal 1976 Golf GTI, are fin­ished in tar­tan fab­ric. Own­ers can se­lect op­tional leather and Al­can­tara.

Com­pared with the stan­dard Polo, the GTI gets new front and rear bumpers, 17-inch al­loy wheels in the Den­ver de­sign, a small rear spoiler and dual chrome tailpipes ex­it­ing stage left.


LOTS of fea­tures are in­cluded in the price — six-speaker iPod-com­pat­i­ble au­dio, cruise con­trol, al­loy ped­als, elec­tric and heated mir­rors, pad­dle-shifters on the steer­ing col­umn, day­light run­ning lights, air­con­di­tion­ing and so on — but safety is the GTI’s hall­mark.

It gets six airbags, ESC and brake as­sist with other elec­tronic chas­sis aids.

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