Shanghai-Volkswagen has launched the Polo GTI onto the Chinese car market, but all is not what it seems. Externally identical as the European model which develops 178bhp/132kW, the Chinese version of the performance hatchback makes do with 131bhp/96kW. Still equipped with a seven-speed DSG gearbox, the pared-down Chinese car uses an older 1.4-litre turbocharged ‘TSI’ engine to propel it. Critics are vary of the expensive price, too: 158.900 Yuan, which equates to approximately US$25,000 or £15,500.
Debuting at the Chengdu Auto Show on 19 September, the Chinese-spec Polo GTI is manufactured by joint-venture company Shanghai-Volkswagen, and certain reports state that the European engine would have been too costly to import, as the car is made locally. It will only be available with five doors, and has a 0-62mph time of 9 seconds, as opposed to the European car’s 6.9 seconds. It also misses out equipment highlights such as 17-inch wheels (smaller 16-inch rims will be fitted), LED daytime running lights, xenon headlights and headlight washers, multifunction steering wheel as well as cruise control.