This one slipped past us rather unnoticed. The latest Polo GTI ‘6C’ has attracted largely favourable reviews from both the press and owners, the 1.8-litre TSI-engined version of Volkswagen’s smallest sports hatchback having first appeared in 2015. With a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds and 189bhp, it is the most powerful series production Polo GTI to date. Or at least, until yesterday, we thought it was.
Power boost to 227bhp
It turns out there is an even hotter version of the legendary-badged Polo. Say ‘hello’ to the Volkswagen Polo GTI 230, which, as its name suggested, receives a power boost to 227bhp (230 PS). More surprisingly, it is an officially-sanctioned Volkswagen production product. Launched in April 2016, it is limited to Switzerland only. And, as restricted as its market availability is the number available: only a paltry – but rather neat – 230 examples are available to buy.
German tuner ABT has been roped in to help with upping the power to liberate an extra 38bhp over the standard Polo GTI, which sees the special edition make 265lb ft/360Nm of torque and romp on to a top speed of 149mph. The 0-62mph dash is now 0.2 seconds quicker, too, and thankfully – enthusiasts rejoice! – a six-speed manual is available alongside the seven-speed DSG transmission. Sadly, choice is rather more limited when it comes to the looks: the Polo GTI 230 is only available with five doors.
‘GTI 230’ decal badges
As befits a special edition go-faster model, ‘unique’ graphics tell other hot hatch fans what you are driving, with the Polo GTI 230 featuring carbon fibre door mirror caps, as well as a ‘GTI 230’ decal badge on the tailgate, and ‘GTI 230’ red and carbon-coloured foils on the door bottoms, front bumper upright sections and the bonnet. While they are more on the tasteful side, if you’re really a restrained type of driver, they may still be a little too much.
Standard equipment is upped on the regular Polo GTI, too. The ‘Sport Select’ package (amplified cabin sound, enhanced accelerator and steering response, and adjustable suspension), ‘Composition Media’ (with Bluetooth/DAB+ and App-Connect) infotainment system, electrically-folding door mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, front central armrest, LED headlights, Volkswagen ‘Plug & Play’ subwoofer-fed 300W sound system, and a winter package all feature on the GTI 230.
‘Motorsport’ alloy rims
Perhaps more excitingly, although the Polo GTI 230 comes with the same 17-inch ‘Parabolica’ black and diamond-cut finish alloy wheels as the standard car, a set of black 10-spoke ‘Motorsport’ rims are also thrown in, complete with winter tyres and snow chains to deal with the sometimes harsh Swiss seasons. Optional kit on offer is the same as the regular Polo GTI, and includes a panoramic sunroof and leather or alcantara-trimmed seats.
How much for all this limited number, souped-up Polo GTI? CHF 29,100 to you sir or madam, around £23,251 at today’s exchange rates. A ‘customer benefit’ (yep, us too, no idea) of CHF 5,000 is available but with that not included, the Polo GTI 230 costs around £2,000 more than its standard 189bhp sister. Not that all that matters, as it’s all academic anyway: unless you’re in Switzerland, you can’t buy one.
Will the Polo GTI 230 sell? It still appears on the Volkswagen Switzerland website, so we’re guessing it hasn’t sold out already. The Swiss do have form, though, when it comes to special Polo GTI models: the 100-unit run GTI Carbon Edition of 2012 was even more limited. So it seems, in Switzerland at least, there is clearly a market for a slightly more obvious example of a not-usually-obvious German hot hatchback…
Want to find out more about the Volkswagen Polo GTI 230? Download a brochure here.