With all the furore surrounding the rumours that Volkswagen might be considering a firecracking Polo R, we thought we’d share details of another high-performance Polo which was under consideration five years ago. We recently hinted at a design study for a hot shot Polo 2004-style. Well, here it is.
Rumoured to be called ‘R25′, ‘R18′ or ‘R23′ but commonly referred to as the R25, it was so-called due to a possible 2.5-litre engine configuration. But, let’s face it, Volkswagen was never going to sell a 2.5-litre Polo, so the numbers in the other proposed ‘R’ model designations also refer to engine displacements; in this case, 1.8 and 2.3.
We think the car we saw in 2004 at the fascinating and fabulous AutoMuseum Volkswagen in Wolfsburg was effectively a styling prototype. We’d seen photographs of the car on the internet before we went, but thought that the car had been stored away – it was never a permanent exhibit. So, imagine our surprise when in front of us sat a rare Mystic Blue piece of Polo history.
A little brother to the Golf R32, the R25 had a tough-looking bodykit made up of blistered wheelarches, deeper sills, larger spoiler and unique mesh-filled sports bumpers. Twin exhausts exited at the back, while 17″ Polo Dune BBS wheels filled the arches. A newly-developed 1.8, 2.3 or 2.5-litre engine was rumoured to have been fitted, but sources close to the museum stated that the car was in fact running a standard 1.4 unit.
This special one-off Polo was returned to Volkswagen’s development centre in Wolfsburg, and as far as we’re aware, was never seen again outside of the company. Why was the plug pulled? There could be a number of reasons. The on-sale price would have been high; there was no GTI version in the range at the time; or the bodykit might not have sat quite right with the feminine looks of the Series 4 Polo.
Whatever the reason, the car looked sensational, and it’s sad it never saw the light of day as a production Polo. Volkswagen is traditionally a conservative company and will no doubt keep a close eye on the sales of the recently-launched Golf and Scirocco Rs to see if a Polo version is worthwhile. But, we’ve recently read reports that the company has said no to the Polo R, stating that nothing smaller than a Golf will carry the ‘R’ badge, which, if correct, is a real shame.