Archive | Polo GTI

15 February 2017 ~ 0 Comments

A little more power, a little more obvious: the Volkswagen Polo GTI 230

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI 230

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.

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10 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Twin test: SEAT Ibiza Cupra vs Volkswagen Polo GTI contributor, motoring writer, editor and Polo GTI owner John Redfern weighs up the pros and cons of two seemingly similar Spanish-built Volkswagen Group hot hatchbacks

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI and SEAT Ibiza Cupra

This is evidently a subjective area, and neither Cupra nor GTI could be considered unattractive designs. Whether you prefer the basic Polo or Ibiza shape is personal taste, so we concentrated on the actual effort made to transform regular supermini into a hot hatch.

So what sets the GTI apart is the fact it looks more bespoke compared to the rest of the Polo range. From the red trim running across the grille into the headlights, to the honeycomb mesh and the GTI branding, it feels more special. Yes, it might be a scaled-down pastiche of the Golf GTI, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

On the other hand, the Ibiza Cupra struggles to separate itself from the hundreds of FR-badged imitators. Where it does differ is often through fussy styling, like the trapezoidal centre-exit exhaust or fake vents in the rear bumper. It’s still a good-looking car, but doesn’t quite do enough to make things feel distinctive.

Take the gloss black alloy wheels fitted to this Cupra Black test car, and compare them to the multi-spoke items, with diamond cut elements, on the GTI. Whether you like them is a matter of taste, but it exemplifies the extra attention to detail and sense of occasion found on the transformation of the Polo into a GTI.

Winner: GTI

Volkswagen Group interiors have long held a reputation for strong design and build quality. That doesn’t change when it gets to the Cupra and GTI, but subtle distinctions between them still exist.

As with the exterior, the Polo GTI edges ahead with a cabin that manages to have a greater sense of occasion. It starts with the ‘Jacara’ (or tartan) seats, and extends to the red stitching on the gear knob and steering wheel. The addition of piano black trim helps break up a sea of charcoal, as do the extra chrome elements.

Unlike the GTI there’s no additional trim to separate acres of grained black plastic. It could be a Cupra, or it could be a base-spec E, there’s no real feeling of delineation. Where the Ibiza does score an advantage is with seats that will go lower to the floor, and ultimately feel more cosseting than those in the GTI. Get back in the Polo and the sense of extra seat height is palpable – blame the extra storage drawers hiding underneath for that.

Fundamentally the Polo GTI feels more expensive, looks more expensive, and persuades you that VW were inclined to try that little bit harder in making it feel unique.

Winner: GTI

Same 1.8-litre TSI engine and, unsurprisingly, the same official performance figures for both. Drive them back-to-back, or have someone drive the other one alongside, and you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to say one is faster than the other.

The Cupra does, however, have a slightly sharper initial throttle pedal response and feels ever so marginally quicker in terms of initial acceleration. Conversely, the GTI seems to have a fraction more lag before the torque kicks in. It is a very subtle difference, and one that could only really be detected driving one immediately after the other.

More noticeable is the lighter clutch pedal and gearbox of the Cupra, which removes an extra degree of effort that’s needed in the GTI. The Polo’s gearbox is still accurate but needs more force to shift cogs, whilst the clutch is also heavier.

Both cars here feature Sport modes that sharpen the throttle response and provoke more noise from the interior sound actuator. As noted in our review, the Cupra makes a slightly strange offbeat tone, whilst the GTI sounds more conventional. Despite the Cupra’s fancy tailpipe design, it’s the GTI that actually makes more noise from the exhaust itself.

The 1.8-litre TSI engine is an impressive unit in both applications and, so nuanced are the differences, we’re calling this round a tie.

Winner: draw

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05 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

‘Limited edition’ Polo GTI launched in India for Rs 25.99 lakh

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI (India)

It’s been mooted for a long time, but finally the Polo GTI is available to buy in India. The car retails at Rs 25.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), but potential owners will need to be as quick as the 189bhp hot hatch – only 99 units will be available, as the car is a ‘limited edition’ for India. The car was first unveiled in February at the Auto Expo motor show in New Delhi, and differences for the Indian market include raised suspension and better dust-proofing.

16-inch ‘Salvador’ alloy wheels
The Indian-market hot Polo also comes with 16-inch ‘Salvador’ alloy wheels, one inch smaller than the European car. Also only available as a three-door, the high price is because the car comes only as a Completely Built Up (‘CBU’) model, which incurs higher taxes: Completely Knocked Down (‘CKD’) cars are cheaper, as parts of the finished vehicle are shipped to the the country of sale for assembly. Regular Polos for the local market are assembled in Volkswagen India’s Pune factory.

Performance is similar to its European sisters: the 1280kg Indian Polo GTI records a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds, while top speed is 146mph. Torque from its 1.8-litre turbocharged TSI engine is the same, too, at 184lb ft/250Nm. A seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox is standard. Equipment includes LED headlights, twin exhaust pipes, ‘XDS’ electronic limited slip differential, ‘Composition Media’ colour touchscreen infotainment system, multifunction steering wheel, and six airbags.

Marketed as ‘Volkswagen GTI’
The Polo GTI costs Rs 17 lakh more than its less hot 103bhp Polo GT sibling, which is priced at Rs 9.07 lakh. The Indian Polo GTI is marketed just as ‘Volkswagen GTI’, so Volkswagen India is clearly testing the water before launching any further performance models. The Indian Polo GTI’s closest rival is the 147bhp Rs 9.99 Abarth Punto. As well as Europe, the Polo GTI has also appeared in China: a 131bhp model was introduced in 2012 with a 1.4-litre TSI engine from the locally-made Lavida saloon.

Michael Mayer, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, said: ‘The GTI is one of its kind in the performance hatch segment and is designed for the petrol heads who are well versed with the GTI philosophy. It seamlessly blends power with comfort that guarantees performance and an adrenaline-packed driving experience. The one who drives a GTI need not to explain anything. He simply drives a statement. Volkswagen GTI remains the icon for all sporty cars and we are extremely proud to bring this phenomenon to India’.

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16 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Remus stainless steel exhaust upgrade for 2014- Polo GTI 1.8 TSI

Volkswagen Polo GTI 1.8 TSI Remus performance exhaust system upgrade

Hot on the tyre tracks of Cobra Sport’s exhaust upgrade for the 2014- (current) Polo GTI 1.8 TSi comes a similar system from Remus. Three 60mm stainless steel sports exhaust kits are available as the core product, and all are 5mm larger than the Polo GTI’s standard system. One offering has a resonator, one does without, while the third boasts fully-integrated electronic valves, complete with remote control to operate the valve control unit.

Quiet or aggressive-sounding
The latter system allows for the exhaust volume to be raised or lowered just by the simple push of a button, meaning that enthusiastic owners can have a quiet car day-to-day, or a more aggressive-sounding one when the need and time arises. Very clever, and something which has been solely realised by Remus, as the standard car does without such a trick system.

A pair of chromed and angled 90mm tailpipes mark the start of the under-bumper options. Five more 84mm offerings bolster the range, and available in chrome, ‘Street Race’, ‘Carbon Race’, ‘Street Race Black Chrome’, and titanium finishes, there really should be something for everyone. As a bonus, all of the available options should nestle under the hot Polo’s rear bumper easily.

High standard of quality
Remus tests all its systems on its own development cars and can therefore offer a very high standard of quality as well as increases in performance throughout the rev range. The company also states that while the increased volume is more aggressive than the car’s OEM system, it never becomes intrusive. Prices start at £91.20 including VAT for the front ‘race tube’ which replaces the front silencer, and rise to £1,008.00 including VAT for one system with the fully integrated electronic valves.

Visit Remus’ website at for more information on, and the fitment details and prices for, the Polo GTI 1.8 TSI cat-back sports exhaust system.


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23 August 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Cobra Sport announces performance exhaust system for 2014- Polo GTI 1.8 TSI

Polo GTI 1.8 TSI Cobra Sport performance exhaust system upgrade

Cobra Sport has announced a series of new performance exhaust upgrades for the current Polo GTI 1.8 TSI, which was first introduced in 2014. Following a similar series of upgrades for the previous 1.4-litre supercharged and turbocharged TSI engine which powered the 2010-2014 Polo GTI, the latest system ‘greatly improve the exhaust pitch and tone and add the sporty edge which was missing from the factory system,’ according to Cobra Sport.

Weight saving of 41 per cent
The resonated 2.5-inch cat-back system weighs only 9.52kg compared to the original’s 16.20kg, an impressive saving of 41 per cent. Cobra Sport claims that the de-­cat and sports cat front pipes have been enlarged to 3-inch bore and offer a weight saving of 0.60kg. The new offerings for the Polo GTI have the usual Cobra Sport best quality refinements, including Grade 304 stainless steel used throughout the system.

The Cobra Sport upgrades fit from the catalytic converter rearwards and replace the middle and rear sections. Owners looking for maximum performance and sound improvements, the company also offers both a 3-inch (76.2mm) high flow sports catalyst and de-cat front section to complete the turbo-back system.

Twin 3-inch and 3.25-inch tailpipes
A choice of twin 3-inch and 3.25-inch tailpipes in a highly polished T304 stainless steel finish is available, while a less obtrusive oval slash cut version can also be optioned. Cobra Sport states that the resonated cat back system offers a subtle 10db aural upgrade over the original (benchmarked in a 4000rpm static test) and that it is designed to ‘provide a purposeful but unobtrusive pitch perfect sound quality, which in no way interferes with day-­to‐day drivability’.

Matt Thomas, Sales Manager at Cobra Sport says: ‘The new Mk 5 Polo has been a big hit with initial owners and journalists who rate the naturally-aspirated 1.8 litre engine as a big improvement over the previous 1.4 TSI. We are very excited to have developed a full range of exhaust systems to offer an upgrade to suit the wide range of buyer requirements.’

The Polo GTI 1.8 TSI Cobra Sport non-resonated cat-back system starts at £427.20, while resonated cat-back upgrades are priced from £506.40. The most expensive upgrade is the turbo-back exhaust system with sports catalyst and resonater which retails at £1,202.54. For full details of the new systems, visit the Cobra Sport website.

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