For the first time, the Polo GTI of­fers its big brother’s EA888 en­gine. Will that aid it on track?

Car (South Africa) - - SPEED -

THE Volk­swa­gen Polo GTI has al­ways been the softer, more-at­tuned-to-daily-driv­ing hot hatch in its class. That’s given it wide-rang­ing ap­peal but has lim­ited its on-track prow­ess.

This time round, how­ever, VW – which showed us with the Golf GTI Club­sport S it could let its hair down and de­velop a hard-core hot hatch – in­stalled a ver­sion of the Golf 5 GTI’S EA888 2,0-litre tur­bopetrol en­gine atop the brand’s cel­e­brated MQB plat­form. Our rst road test in Septem­ber 2018 con rmed the 147 kw/320 N.m Polo GTI is far more ac­com­plished dy­nam­i­cally. Would that new­found pol­ish stand it in good stead at Kil­lar­ney?

On a mild day, Deon Jou­bert left the DSG ‘box in au­to­matic mode and set out. Af­ter two ying laps, the quick­est time regis­tered was 1:32,30, half a sec­ond brisker than the 2013 Ford Fi­esta ST and 0,4 sec­onds slower than the bench­mark 2017 Fi­esta ST200.

Deon was un­de­cided on the GTI’S track abil­i­ties: “A 1:32 is about what I ex­pected it to do. The Polo is not very light and its speci cation leaves you in no doubt it is aimed at road driv­ing. It is easy to drive and a great ev­ery­day car but not ideal for the track due to no­table tyre squeal from un­der­steer. How­ever, an af­ter­mar­ket spe­cial­ist can in­crease its ap­peal for a new owner, as th­ese en­gines have been around for years and can be tuned.”

Visit Car­ and click on the video tab to watch Deon Jou­bert put the Polo GTI through its paces

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