DOWN­SIZ­ING?

Out goes the 1.8 TSI, the new Polo GTI gets a big­ger mo­tor

Evo India - - VW POLO GTI -

I’M HAV­ING A BIG PROB­LEM WITH THE POLO GTI and that’s stay­ing away from the usual road testy stuff – how the styling has evolved over the ear­lier Polo (very well in­deed, es­pe­cially the red stripe run­ning through the head­lamps), how there’s sig­nif­i­cantly more space at the rear (match­ing its class ri­vals now), how the cabin is a damn sight bet­ter look­ing (that dash is gor­geous, eas­ily the best I’ve seen in this class) and how, in the cur­rent form, this Polo just can­not come to In­dia (it is over four me­tres in length). I’m here to lap the track, so lap the track we shall.

First things first, out goes down­siz­ing and the 1.8 TSI and in comes the 2.0 TSI from the Golf GTI. The power out­put is just shy of 200 at 197bhp while torque peaks at 320Nm, fig­ures that leave some breath­ing room to the Golf GTI but are a mas­sive jump over the Up GTI, es­pe­cially since the Polo GTI tips the scales at a very com­pet­i­tive 1280kg. Jump­ing into the Polo from the Up feels like a big step up – launch it and the Polo GTI gets to 100kmph in just 6.7 sec­onds (just half a sec­ond shy of the Golf GTI) and there’s both mus­cle at the bot­tom end and a rip­ping top end. Where the Up is a puppy the Polo is a hound. Not a blood hound, but a hound nev­er­the­less.

All the Polo GTIs lined up for us had the DSG gear­box, a man­ual only comes later this year, and while it takes a bit away from the driver en­gage­ment there’s no get­ting away

VW CLAIM THE POLO GTI IS THE MOST PLAY­FUL AND DRIVER-FO­CUSED YET AND ON TRACK IT DEF­I­NITELY FEELS FRISKY

from the fact that you end up lap­ping the track quicker. There’s also pol­ish to the chas­sis. VW claim the Polo GTI is the most play­ful and driver-fo­cused yet and on the track it def­i­nitely feels frisky. ESP can never be fully turned off but in the Sport set­ting, and when pushed hard, the Polo shim­mies its bum enough for you to be aware that you’re push­ing its lim­its. This is also down to the tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion, un­like the more ex­pen­sive multi-link on the Golf that pro­vides bet­ter sta­bil­ity and, con­se­quently, man­ners. But oth­er­wise the two share the same MQB toolkit and the Polo GTI def­i­nitely feels a big step up on the track, com­pared to the ear­lier car. There’s stronger bite from the front tyres and a tauter ride. The Polo even gets the XDS dif­fer­en­tial that, by brak­ing the in­side rear wheel, func­tions like a me­chan­i­cal limited slip dif­fer­en­tial, though that said, I did ex­pe­ri­ence a fair bit of in­side wheel spin while at­tack­ing the tighter cor­ners.

The big­gest take away though is just how much quicker the Polo GTI has be­come. It’s true what they say, there’s no re­place­ment for dis­place­ment.

Left: New Polo car­ries old Polo’s visual iden­tity but is so much bet­ter look­ing. Wider, longer and more grown up too. Fac­ing page: Cabin clearly the best in this class; GTI only gets a DSG for now

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