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28 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 breaks cover in first test

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The latest Polo rally car has officially broken cover, and has undergone its first testing session in France. The 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 was driven by Volkswagen Motorsport test driver Dieter Depping and Swedish World Rally Champion pilot Pontus Tidemand around a 3.85km asphalt route in Fontjoncouse.

Based on the new sixth-generation Polo, the Polo GTI R5’s brakes, cooling system, engine and tyres were all tested for durability on the dry asphalt surface. Testing then moved to gravel tracks to further push the chassis and suspension. The testing location was familiar to rally Polos, as the venue was where the first Polo R WRC tests took place in 2011. The recipe was honed from then on: Volkswagen Motorsport’s all-conquering car went on to win four consecutive World Rally Championship titles from 2013 to 2016.

‘A special feeling’
Depping was the test driver of that original Polo R WRC, too: ‘It is a special feeling to be back here, where the Polo embarked on its first rally adventure roughly six years ago,’ he said. ‘It is now about achieving the best possible set-up for the new Polo GTI R5. This first test was primarily about getting a lot of kilometres under our belt, in order to give the engineers as much data as possible. I can tell you one thing now: The R5 Polo is also very good, very quick and precise. I immediately felt right at home!” he added.

‘A successful first test is a good sign and great motivation,’ commented a pleased Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. ‘After the many hours and weeks spent working on our latest customer racing project on the computer, in both the design process and the workshop, the Polo GTI R5 can now finally show what it is capable of, and we can gain valuable data for the further development of the car.’

Three-day test
The three-day testing programme marked the start of the punishing development regime for the latest 270bhp four-wheel-drive rally Polo, which will be sold to professional customer teams and drivers to compete in national, global and the WRC2 class of the FIA World Rally Championship from the second half of 2018.

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17 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Sixth-generation, all-new Polo-based Volkswagen Virtus revealed

2017 Volkswagen Virtus (Brazil)

As the Volkswagen Derby celebrates its fortieth birthday, the saloon version of the all-new sixth-generation Polo has been unveiled. Mooted for some time, the Polo-based Volkswagen Virtus has been launched in Brazil and offers, according to VW, ‘the latest in design, innovation, interior space and high performance in the premium sedan segment.’

Arriving at Brazilian retailers in in January 2018, the Virtus is the first model to preview the new design language which will feature on all future Volkswagen sedan cars, and is focused particularly on Latin American markets. Like the all-new Polo, the Virtus is based on the smallest ‘A0’ version of the MQB platform, which means it includes Active Info Display digital instruments, and an eight-inch ‘Discover Media’ infotainment system, alongside other hi-tech features.

Sharing its bodywork with the recently-unveiled all-new Novo Polo, the Virtus draws on VW saloons of the past but adds modern, more sculpted lines. A high rear window line flows into a longer rear deck than we’ve seen on Volkswagen saloons of more recent times, and while it can’t be described as elegant in the way the first-generation Polo-based Derby can, it’s a solid effort and the boot doesn’t appear to be ‘tacked on’. The new Polo’s ‘tornado line’ terminates just above the rear lights, while the bootlid itself incorporates a neat rear spoiler.

521 litres of luggage space
The 4,480mm-long Virtus is 42.5 inches longer than the Novo Polo, with a 2,650mm wheelbase, the same as the current Jetta. That’s also 85mm longer than that of the new Polo, which itself saw a 94mm increase over the fifth-generation car. The height of VW’s new baby sedan is 1,468mm, 4mm more than the new Polo. Width is the same at 1,751mm. Volkswagen says there is room for three adults in the rear seats ‘with comfort’, while the large doors – larger than the Novo Polo – offer better ingress. Boot space is impressive: the new Polo can hold 351 litres, but the Virtus 521-litre trunk improves on this by a sizable 170 litres. That’s 67 litres up on the fifth-generation Polo-based saloon sold in some markets.

Inside, the familiarity of the sixth-generation Polo continues. The Virtus shares the new small Volkswagen’s dashboard and cabin, including the horizontal axis of instruments, and high quality glass displays. Just like the new Polo, there’s also the second generation of the 10.25-inch Active Info Display digital instruments, as well as MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

1.0, 128bhp 200 TSI engine
No exact details on engine specifications have been given, but the Virtus will be available with the same 1.0-litre turbocharged 128bhp ‘200 TSI’ (so-called because of its 200Nm torque output) three-cylinder engine. While the full power output is developed when fuelled with petrol, the three-pot can also run on ethanol, when 115bhp is developed. Torque is unchanged on both versions, while a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission will also be offered, complete with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The Virtus 200 TSI does the 0 to 62mph dash in 9.9 seconds.

As you’d expect being based on the new Polo, the Virtus is one of the safest cars in its class. The Virtus 200 TSI is fitted with electronic stability control as standard, which also includes a hill hold function, and hydraulic brake assist and XDS+ electronic differential lock systems. In addition, the Virtus will be Brazil’s first car to offer a ‘cognitive manual’ which uses IBM’s Watson system to respond to drivers’ questions, including information which can be found in the car’s manual.

2017 Volkswagen Virtus (Brazil)

‘Stamp of innovation’
‘We are advancing rapidly in our product offensive with the revelation of the Virtus sedan just 60 days after the launch of the Novo Polo,’ said Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen South America and Brazil. ‘It is another step towards gaining a relevant position in the Latin America region. Virtus is already born with the stamp of innovation: it is a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence, to help the owner to better know and enjoy Virtus in everyday use,’ he continued. The Virtus will be made at Volkswagen’s Anchieta factory, 20kms north of Sao Paulo.

The Polo has featured a saloon version in every model generation since the first-generation Polo-based Derby of 1977. Not sold in all global markets, the fifth-generation Polo spawned the Polo Sedan in Russia, South Africa and South America. The same car was re-christened Vento in India, where it was built and exported alongside local-market and export versions of the fifth-generation Polo.

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10 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo stays in UK top ten cars list; free insurance offer on all-new Polo

Volkswagen Polo BlueGT (UK)

Despite a new model waiting in the wings, the Volkswagen Polo is still one the of the UK’s most popular cars. According to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 2,703 fifth-generation Polos were registered in October 2017, the model sitting in eighth place in the UK top 10 passenger car registrations chart. Overall, 43,158 Polos have found new UK homes in 2017 so far.

The SMMT’s October 2017 figures state that the new car market saw a double-digit decline when compared to the same period in 2016. A fall of 12.2 per cent saw a total of 158,192 new cars registered last month, with the year-to-date tally of 2,224,603 cars down 4.6 per cent on last year. Diesel sales have slumped 29.9 per cent. The UK’s top 10 most popular cars during October 2017 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 7,256 (83,070, 1st)

2 Volkswagen Golf: 5,547 (62,565, 2nd)
3 Ford Focus: 4,503 (62,029, 3rd)
4 Nissan Qashqai: 3,923 (57,120, 4th)
5 Mercedes-Benz A Class: 3,390 (37,937, 10th)
6 Kia Sportage: 2,850
7 Audi A3: 2,764
8 Volkswagen Polo: 2,703 (43,158, 6th)
9 BMW 4 Series: 2,558
10 Ford Kuga: 2,493

(The UK’s 2017 year-to-date top 10 most popular cars absent from October’s registration figures were the fifth-placed Vauxhall Corsa, the seventh-placed Vauxhall Astra, the eighth-placed Mercedes-Benz C Class and the ninth-placed Mini with 43,315, 43,116, 41,281, and 38,964 registrations recorded respectively.)

Free insurance offer on new Polo
With the sixth-generation Polo already on sale in the UK from £13,855 (RRP OTR), Volkswagen has announced a free insurance offer on the new model, the first deliveries of which should arrive in January 2018. One year’s free comprehensive cover applies to qualifying customers aged between 18 and 80*, and customers can also receive a deposit contribution of £500 when they buy a new Polo with a Volkswagen Financial Services’ Solutions Personal Contract Plan** at 5.9 per cent APR representative.

2017 Volkswagen Polo Highline

The new Polo has also been added to the list of models included in Volkswagen’s Scrappage Upgrade scheme. Owners of diesel vehicles registered before 2010 that comply with pre-Euro 5*** emissions legislation will qualify for the scrappage upgrade. The vehicles can be traded-in to benefit from incentives ranging from £1,800 to £6,000 against the new Polo and other VWs and have been owned by the customer for at least six months. Orders must also be placed by 31 December 2017.

For more details on the Volkswagen Scrappage Upgrade scheme, please visit www.volkswagen.co.uk/scrappage.

Polo Vivo number one in South Africa
Elsewhere last month, the Polo surrendered its second most popular car status in South Africa, slipping to fourth spot with 1,950 examples registered. With 2,851 cars registered, the entry-level Polo Vivo held onto its number one position. Based on the revised fourth-generation Polo sold in Europe from 2005 to 2009, the Vivo has dominated the South African new car sales charts since it was introduced in 2009, when it took over from the fondly remembered Citi Golf as Volkswagen South Africa’s lowest-priced model.

*One year’s insurance included at no extra cost from Volkswagen Insurance is available on new Polo models ordered from 3 October 2017 to 2 January 2018 and registered by 31 March 2018 for drivers aged 18-80 (GTI is 25 and over). Drivers under 18 are not eligible. Excludes Northern Ireland. Drivers aged 18-24 are required to share their driving style data with a telematics product. Other eligibility criteria apply. Go to www.insurewithvolkswagen.co.uk/polo for full terms and conditions. This offer may be extended, changed or removed at any point. Volkswagen Motor Insurance from Volkswagen Financial Services is arranged and administered by Carrot Risk Technologies Limited.

**At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) pay the optional final payment and own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle: subject to excess mileage and fair wear and tear, charges may apply; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle. With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. Subject to Status. 18+. T&Cs and exclusions apply. Indemnities may be required. Offer available when ordered by 02/01/18 from participating Retailers. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at time of publication 07/11/2017. Freepost Volkswagen Financial Services.

***Euro emissions standards: the ‘Euro 1’ standard was introduced in 1992 to help reduce vehicle emissions. Progressively more stringent Euro standards have been implemented since then – helping to lower emissions still further – with Euro 5 being introduced in 2009/2010. ‘Euro 6’, the standard that all new petrol and diesel cars must meet, is currently the toughest yet.

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09 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Euro NCAP awards new Volkswagen Polo a five-star safety rating

2017 Volkswagen Polo: Euro NCAP test

The new Volkswagen Polo has been awarded the highest safety rating from Euro NCAP, in the latest round of results released by the car safety body. Both it and the new T-Roc compact SUV achieved a five-star rating due to their myriad safety and protection systems. Even the entry-level new Polo models are equipped with six airbags and an automatic post-collision braking system.

‘Democratising safety for decades’
Both new Volkswagens topped the listings in the Euro NCAP key test areas: ‘Adult Occupant’, ‘Child Occupant’, ‘Pedestrian’ and ‘Safety Assist’ (assistance systems). ‘Volkswagen has been democratising safety for decades. The outstanding Euro NCAP ratings for the Polo and T-Roc demonstrate once again how we are making maximum safety available to the drivers of mini and compact models as well,’ said Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management responsible for Development.

During the tests, Euro NCAP examined the loads to which adult occupants are subjected in various accident scenarios. The new Polo scored 96 per cent (out of a maximum of 100) in its class and also received an impressive rating in the more challenging side-impact test. Euro NCAP commented that ‘the protection of all critical body areas is good; and the Polo attained maximum points’ in relation to the the side barrier and side pole crash tests.

Top figure in its segment
The Polo scored 85 per cent – the top figure it its segment – when it came to child occupant protection. It also boasted high figures in the pedestrian protection test – 76 per cent – and in the ‘Safety Assist’ assistance systems category (59 per cent). The full sixth-generation Polo Euro NCAP ratings can be seen here, and come after the latest small Volkswagen also scored top marks in similar Latin NCAP tests.

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is an international and independent consortium of governments and non-governmental organisations. The mission of Euro NCAP is to provide automobile buyers with information on the safety of the most popular vehicles sold in Europe in a timely manner.

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07 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen releases first details of Polo GTI R5 world rally challenger

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Teased at the time of the demise of the multi-title-winning Volkswagen Polo R WRC last December, Volkswagen has today announced the first details of its ‘customer’-specification replacement, the Polo GTI R5.

The new 270bhp rally machine will take to the stages in the second half of 2018, and will be available to professional teams as well as ‘aspiring drivers’, and will be eligible for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in which its full works factory-backed car won four driver and manufacturer championships.

Based on sixth-generation Polo
The new tarmac and gravel car is based on the sixth-generation Polo (so we suspect it will share the road car’s five-door silhouette) and has been developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover, who also built the 318bhp Polo R WRC. Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director – and ‘father’ of the Polo R WRC – François-Xavier ‘FX’ Demaison is responsible for leading the development of the Polo GTI R5.

Dutchman and former race engineer for Sébastien Ogier, Gerard-Jan de Jongh is the Polo GTI R5 senior project engineer and also brings his expertise from the Polo R WRC programme: the Frenchman won the World Rally Championship drivers’ title with Volkswagen four times in a row. Initial test drives of the Polo GTI R5 will place later this year.

‘First-class racing machine’
‘Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world, commented Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,’ he continued.

One interesting correlation is the naming of the new car ‘GTI R5’. Already forging a link to the road-going Polo with the 2017 World Rallycross championship Polo GTI RXs run by PSRX and Volkswagen Sweden, the new car will also bear the legendary Volkswagen three letters to draw links to, and promote, the new 197bhp Polo GTI which will be launched at the end of this year.

Turbocharged, four-wheel drive
Like the new hot-shot Polo, the GTI R5 has a direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engine. There is also four-wheel drive – surely now that’s reason enough for a 300bhp Polo R, Volkswagen? – as well as a five-speed sequential racing transmission. A comprehensive safety package features, too.

The R5 category was introduced by the FIA in 2012 and enables importers, privateers, and teams the opportunity to compete in regional as well as international rally championships. The Polo GTI R5 will form an important second pillar for Volkswagen Motorsport’s new and realigned customer-focused portfolio: the Golf GTI TCR touring car has been winning circuit events and titles since its introduction in 2016.

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