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