Rid­ing the wild Polo pony

Talk of the Town - - News -

he last time I drove SA’s top-sell­ing car, I en­coun­tered some­what of a nig­gle.

It wasn’t a brand new test Volk­swa­gen Polo but, rather, a 10-year-old one in good con­di­tion. Prob­lem was, just about ev­ery time I parked in town, I would come back to find a nui­sance note un­der the wiper blade, ask­ing, “if you want to sell this car please con­tact Peter…, Paul…, Mary... Tel no…”

That says it all. So pop­u­lar is the lit­tle Polo that VW wisely wants to keep adding new stir­rups for as long as pos­si­ble.

Fur­ther prim­ing its pocket rock­ets, they’ve just in­tro­duced the Polo Gran Turismo in­jec­tion (GTi) and it is even more of a punchy light­weight for the en­thu­si­ast, com­mit­ted, driver. Now with the 2-litre TSI turbo en­gine, it has

Tper­for­mance that jus­ti­fies all of its boasts of suc­cesses on the rally spe­cial stages and race tracks of South Africa.

A light­weight body and the as­sertive out­put from the mo­tor trans­late into de­liv­er­ing sting­ing per­for­mance that has you keep­ing your legs to­gether when driv­ing hard, in case you get caught out.

How do you like a max­i­mum of 147kW of power and a bruis­ing 320Nm of torque for when you feel like get­ting play­ful on the road?

At your ser­vice, also, is an op­tional sports sus­pen­sion ad­just­ment to keep mat­ters at high speed con­trol­lable, but an XDS dif­fer­en­tial lock through the front drive wheels, to en­sure those wide, 17-inch tyres keep claw­ing at the tar­mac, is stan­dard equip­ment.

So is the Driv­ing Pro­file se­lec­tion whereby you can choose from four pro­grammes: Eco, Sport, Nor­mal and In­di­vid­ual. In the Eco mode, the en­gine man­age­ment and aux­il­iary sys­tems such as the air-con, are reg­u­lated for op­ti­mal fuel-ef­fi­ciency. Also, if you re­lease the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, on down­hills, for ex­am­ple, the dual clutch (DSG) dis­en­gages for coast­ing, while the en­gine idles.

In Sport mode on the other hand, en­gine re­sponse char­ac­ter­is­tics and gear shift points are au­to­mat­i­cally con­fig­ured for fast driv­ing.

A well pack­aged, dy­namic rig for spir­ited mo­tor­ing, in­deed. The trans­mis­sion is six-speed with a dual clutch setup.

All this trans­lates into a max­i­mum speed of 237km/h and a zero-to-100km/h ac­cel­er­a­tion time in 6.7 sec. That’s what VW claims, but driven nor­mally, they say, fuel con­sump­tion can av­er­age out at a rea­son­able 5.9L/100km.

The in­side is typ­i­cal VW GTi, with the sports front seats and Art Velour up­hol­stery dom­i­nant in a con­nected and largely dig­i­talised cock­pit which makes this Polo, al­ways of­fered in four-door for­mat, crack­ing as a com­pact sports sa­loon.

Red con­trast stitch­ing on the pre­dom­i­nantly black up­hol­stery is also in­her­ited, and is found around the leather-clad, mul­ti­func­tion, sports steer­ing wheel, the gear shift lever trim, the floor mats and the outer seat sur­faces.

The ba­sic GTi is not as spar­tan as it used to be and, for the R375,900, all-in price tag, you now also get the lat­est Volk­swa­gen 8-inch Com­po­si­tion Me­dia in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with ra­dio and CD player.

There are now power win­dows all-round, the driver’s seat is height-ad­justable, and floor mats, front and rear.

GTi colour schemes in­clude Pure White, Flash Red, Deep Black Pearl Ef­fect and Reef Blue Me­tal­lic.

Up front, you see the in­de­pen­dent bumper with an in­te­grated spoiler and fog lights with the sig­na­ture GTi red stripe in the ra­di­a­tor grille. You can also dif­fer­en­ti­ate the new Polo from the old by C-shaped, black, high-gloss air cur­tains in the bumper.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics at the rear in­clude a high-gloss black dif­fuser, chrome dual ex­haust tailpipes and LED tail light clus­ters that pro­vide a rather dis­tinc­tive light image at night. I would have ap­pre­ci­ated, at the price, were those rear view mir­rors, elec­tric fold­ing ones.

In­ter­est­ing is the tyre pres­sure loss in­di­ca­tor which uses the wheel sen­sors of the anti-lock brake sys­tem (ABS).

With the tyre’s pres­sure loss, the rolling ra­dius of the af­fected wheel de­creases, and the wheel turns faster at the same ve­hi­cle speed. This al­lows the sys­tem to de­tect in­suf­fi­cient air pres­sure, and it warns the driver.

The new Polo GTi comes with a three-year/120,000km war­ranty, three-year/45 000km Ser­vice Plan and the guar­an­tee that you will see no cob­webs on driv­ers be­hind the wheel of this wild polo pony.

POWER AND COM­FORT: Volk­swa­gen’s new Polo GTi adds a new di­men­sion to this pop­u­lar model’s pro­file. A sharp new look and loads more power make it even more ap­peal­ing to the spir­ited driver

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.