VW Polo Beats
Damien O'carroll finds a special edition of VW'S Polo aurally impressive.
The Volkswagen Polo Beats is something that the German company is rather fond of – a collaboration with a (generally) non-car related outside entity to produce a unique model in whatever segment it lands in. Think guitar manufacturer Fender (on the Beetle Fender edition), or rock bands Bon Jovi, Genesis and the Rolling Stones, all of whom got special edition Golfs. Yes, really. It isn’t the first time that VW and Appleowned headphone maker Beats have collaborated – the last generation of the Polo also got a Beats edition, as did the small Up! city car – but it is the first we have seen here in New Zealand. What separates the Beats edition from anything else in its segment, or even any other Polo is a thoroughly thunderous Beats audio system, but more on that later. The Beats edition is based on the entry level TSI that packs a brilliantly charismatic 70kw/175nm 1.0-litre turbocharged threecylinder engine hooked up to a seven-speed DSG transmission. On the outside the new Polo is a handsome and chiselled thing that is distinctly a VW. Newfound width makes it look low and muscular, which is a rare thing in this segment. The Beats edition features larger 16-inch alloy wheels and a number of tastefully subtle (thank goodness) Beats badges scattered around the exterior. Not so subtle, however, is the stripe the runs over the top of the car and a vibrant red dash that dominates the interior. Elegantly designed and well laid out, the interior is modern and remarkably open and airy. It does feature quite a lot of hard plastics, but they are of a high quality and nothing feels like it will start rattling any time soon. Of course, we do have to talk about the centrepiece of the Beats edition - the truly mighty audio system developed in collaboration with the famed headphone manufacturer. Packing an eight channel amplifier and an integrated subwoofer tucked in the boot next to the spare wheel, the system is a truly neighbour-annoying marvel of sheer volume and intensity. Thunderously loud and impressively clear, the audio system shares its audio properties with its namesake headphones, meaning that the bass is big, but the mids are lacking, making it perfect for pop and hip hop, but not so much for rock. The Beats edition costs $29,990 or $2,000 more than the entry TSI Polo it is based on. For your extra money you not only get the thunderous audio system, the larger 16-inch alloys, the red dash insert and the sports seats, but also contrasting painted door mirrors, a high gloss black grille and paddle shifters on the multi-function steering wheel, and of course a scattering of Beats logos inside and outside. While the Beats edition certainly won’t be for everyone (there is the Polo TSI for that), what you get for your money is deeply impressive. As impressive as the basic package hidden under the stickers, red dash and pounding audio system, that is.