Plenty of sounds in new VW Polo Beats
We all know who Dr Dre is, don’t we? Of course we do. He’s the American rap artist and entrepreneur who, while on his way to becoming one of the richest figures in hip hop music, founded Beats Electronic.
It all began in 2008 when he released his first brand of headphones, Beats by Dr Dre. It built from there with development of a wide range of audio product including wireless and wired active speakers and earphones, and it culminated in 2014 when the brand was purchased by Apple Inc for a reported $3 billion.
So what has all this got to do with motoring? It’s because Volkswagen New Zealand has just launched a new Polo hatchback range, which includes a special model called the Polo Beats, which features an extra-powerful Beats by Dr Dre sound system that is rated at 300 watts, way higher than the 80 watt system aboard the rest of the Polo range.
The system has an eightchannel amplifier, and for the right slice of bass there’s an integrated sub-woofer under the floor next to the spare wheel in the boot. It goes without saying that the audio is loud. The Beats also has other bits and pieces to help stand it out from the other Polos – sports comfort seats with the Beats design, velvet red decorative interior trim on the front doors and across the dash, a high-gloss black grille, and a red and white stripe decalling running the length of the vehicle.
This isn’t the first time there has been a Polo Beats – the first was developed in Europe for the previous fifth-generation model, but it never made it to New Zealand. This time around it’s a surprisingly affordable member of a five-model sixth-generation Polo range that is now entering the Kiwi new car market.
Beats carries a retail price of $29,990 which is $2000 more than the standard TSI model with twinclutch automatic transmission that it is based on. There’s also an entry TSI with manual which retails for $25,490.
In May the Polo range will be joined by a high-specified R-Line model which will retail for $32,990, and topping the range also from May will be a hot 147kW/ 320Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged GTI version which will retail for $38,490.
‘‘We see the new Polo range as the most aspirational lineup yet,’’ said Volkswagen NZ product manager Rasika Versleijen at a media function in Auckland.
‘‘And we’re expecting the Beats to appeal to a younger audience via the music – it really does offer potential for a studio experience inside a car.’’
That’s for sure. This little hatch – and its not that little any more, offering sharper VW Golflike styling and with dimensions larger than the Golf Mk 4 of the early 2000s – is a little beauty.
It’s the first VW in New Zealand to be powered by a 1.0-litre three cylinder turbocharged engine that offers 70kW of power and 175Nm of torque for the TSI and Beats models, and which will be boosted to 85kW and 200Nm for the R-Line.
Polo is also now built on Volkswagen’s MQB modular platform which already underpins a wide range of product including Golf, Tiguan and Arteon, and the efficiency of this platform has resulted in more interior space plus a big increase in cargo room – it’s now 351 litres with all seats in use, compared to the previous Polo’s 280 litres.
The little hatch also carries a wide range of assistance and convenience features including front assist with city emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry and start, and an active info display with a glassenclosed 8-inch touchscreen.
The new-age platform also means the car is torsionally stiffer than before, and that translates to a quiet and secure drive. The media event included a drive over often-winding and hilly roads to popular Piha beach and the Polo impressed both for the performance of its zingy little triple and for its ride and handling.
Perfect for winding up the audio and enjoying the Beats . . .
Polo is an important member of Volkswagen lineup – in fact with 653,000 sales last year it is the world’s10th biggest-selling vehicle. Since the first version was launched in 1975 as a rebadged Audi, the Polo has gone on to achieve more than 17 million sales. These days it is built in seven countries, and we get ours from South Africa.
‘‘What we’re saying is that Polo is the world’s No 1 small hatch – it sells in number that are bigger than the likes of Toyota Yaris, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Kia Rio,’’ said Volkswagen NZ general manager Tom Ruddenklau.
‘‘It really is a serious car. Now with the new model, including the Beats, we expect annual sales in New Zealand to grow from last year’s 680 to more than 1000 units this year.’’
The new Volkswagen Polo Beats taking a breather at Piha beach.