The Polo isn’t just a European car any more, it’s a truly global model now, with buyers as far afield as Australia, China, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, and South America. Some of these markets were conquered long ago, but one, India, is a fairly recent addition to the Polo’s global repertoire.
Established with the arrival of the fifth-generation model, the Indian-built Polo comes in regular and slightly warmer ‘GT’ flavours. Now, though, it gets hotter – Volkswagen India has confirmed the Polo GTI is to be sold in the country, and pulled the wraps off its latest baby at last week’s Auto Expo show in Delhi.
189bhp TSI engine
‘Designed for true blue enthusiasts’, according to Volkswagen, the Polo GTI for India appears to share the same technical make-up as the European model. Sharing that car’s 189bhp/141kW 1.8-litre TSI engine, it comes with a seven-speed DSG gearbox. Thanks to its power output, it shoots straight to the top of India’s hot hatchback class, the first true ‘performance’ model to be offered.
As the oily bits are are the same as European models, the Indian Polo GTI posts the same performance figures, too, and gets from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, and tops out at 146mph. A torque output of 250NM matches the cars sold in the west, too.
Externally – and internally – it also looks the same as its European sister. Front and rear spoilers and a red-trimmed grille mark out the sports Polo, while the car on the Volkswagen stand at the Auto Expo event wore 17-inch ‘Serron’ alloy wheels, as opposed to the ‘Parabolica’ rims which are standard in the UK. The former wheels are an option in selected European markets.
In another market first, the Polo GTI is being imported to India as a three-door-only model, although a five-door variant could follow. India has almost no experience of small three-door hatchbacks – let alone performance hatchbacks – so it could be a risky strategy.
Expected to arrive in September 2016, buyers will pay around Rs 20 lakhs for the hot Polo, which makes it very pricey – the current Polo starts at Rs 5.33 lakh. Volkswagen India thinks that the market exists, though: around 15-20 per cent of Polos sold there are 103bhp GT TSI and GT TDI models.
Michael Mayer, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India said: ‘The Polo GTI is specifically designed for the true blue enthusiasts, whose thirst for thrill is not only about having a powerful car, but also being well versed with the GTI philosophy.
‘The Polo GTI provides a complete performance package and sets the driver apart from his peer group. We are confident that the world renowned, highly acclaimed features of the car will strongly appeal to Polo GT loyalists as well as driving enthusiasts in India.’