30 June 2021 ~ 0 Comments

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI revealed: all you need to know

Officially unveiled today, ‘a modern sports car in the best tradition’ is how Volkswagen bills the new 2022 Polo GTI. As expected – and shown in the teaser sketch back in May – the refreshed version of Volkswagen’s supermini hot hatch features red detailing and bolder styling than the regular version of the new Polo, and its reveal comes just in time to celebrate the Polo GTI’s 21st birthday in the UK.

What does the new Polo GTI look like?
The new Polo GTI builds on the looks of the refreshed Polo and so already has a bolder and more striking appearance than the outgoing ‘phase one’ sixth-generation model. Up front, a new bumper with body-colour strakes, spoiler winglets, honeycomb inserts and Golf 8 GTI-style LED fog lamps signal the new Polo GTI’s sporting intent, with a red grille strip that bleeds into the headlights – ‘IQ Light’ LED matrix units no less.

The grille itself features an illuminated LED light strip that continues into the headlights, similar to the eighth-generation Golf and Volkswagen’s new all-electric ID model family. A new thinner and more stylised – but still not as good as the older, serif font in our opinion – ‘GTI’ badge is proudly and prominently positioned on the grille.

At the rear, the new Polo’s larger rear lights are a dominant feature and on the GTI feature LEDs and animated brake lights as well as fancy dynamic indicators. As with the outgoing car, the red ‘GTI’ badge sits under the redesigned ‘VW’ logo. A new rear bumper features a subtle diffuser and edge winglets, as well as a colour-coded section housing the twin chrome exhausts. The car featured in Volkswagen’s early press images has 17-inch alloy wheels – 18s are an option – that have a black and diamond-cut finish and on the car in the photos have an almost ‘flower’-like pattern. Which, although they look nice, might not be the most suitable for a GTI…

Available in five colours, the traditional ‘GTI’ shades of black, red, white are available (Kings Red Metallic, Pure White Uni and Deep Black Pearl Effect respectively), along with Reef Blue Metallic – which featured on the outgoing car – and Smoke Grey Metallic. The blue, red and white can also be specified with a separate roof pack, which features a contrasting black roof. Speaking of roofs, a tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof will also be an option.

What about the interior – is it a true GTI?
If ‘true GTI’ means tartan seat trim – check. The new Polo GTI’s seats have ‘Clark’ tartan seat trim but plainer ‘Art Velours’ material is also available, but why would you? We’d always choose the tartan. Another true GTI feature is black headlining and pillar trim, and again, it’s all present and correct in the new Polo GTI. In addition, the colour scheme in the new Polo GTI is based around black, grey, red and chrome.

The full-width dashpad insert now has a gloss Kings Red finish as opposed to the matt finish on the outgoing car, and it’s certainly striking. However, if it’s a little too in your face, a Deep Iron gloss grey option can be had instead. Red stitching on the seats, haptic-buttoned steering wheel and gear lever cover also signify the new Polo’s ‘GTI-ness’.

OK, it sounds like a GTI cabin, but how digital is it?
As with ‘regular’ versions of the new Polo, the GTI’s cabin is more digitised than ever before. While the 2022 Polo GTI’s interior isn’t fully digital like that of the eighth-generation Golf, the physical buttons on the infotainment system have disappeared.

The new 8.0-inch Ready2Discover and Discover Media, and 9.2-inch Discover Pro systems use Volkswagen’s latest MIB3 modular infotainment matrix, the Ready2Discover unit available with an option to retrospectively activate navigation functions if desired. As with the regular new Polo, an integrated eSIM gives the units enhanced functionality and VW’s App-Connect Wireless for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The new Polo GTI’s digitised instruments are 10.25 inches in size, part of the new Digital Cockpit Pro series of units. The display graphics have been specially matched to the Polo GTI, and the fully digital view can optionally show the navigation route over the full screen, with the functions of the touchscreen on the centre console assigned and used as desired. Sadly, the Climatronic climate control system appears to be optional, but where specified, operation of this goes digital, too, with sliders and touch-sensitive buttons for the main controls.

When it comes to practicality – a traditional GTI trait – thanks to little changed dimensions, the new Polo GTI is as roomy as before. The 2,564mm wheelbase affords the same interior space as the outgoing car, and there is the same 351-litre luggage capacity.

Enough about interiors – what engine powers the new Polo GTI?
As with the outgoing model, the Polo GTI has a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine nestled under its more shapely bonnet. But… power has been upped to 204bhp (207PS), an increase of 7bhp (10PS) from before, although we have a suspicion that this engine was actually already available on very late versions of the outgoing car.

Still a variant of the trusted EA888 ‘3B’ engine, the new Polo GTI packs 236lb ft (320Nm) of torque at 1,500-4,500rpm, and scampers to 62mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. Top speed is 149mph (240km/h). Technical highlights of the engine include a dual injection system with combined direct and manifold injection; an engine control unit with four core processors; and an electronic valvelift system on the intake side.

At the time of writing, only a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox is mentioned. That’s the same as the old car, the much-anticipated 6-speed manual never coming to the UK. We suspect it will be the same story with the new car.

What has VW done to make the new Polo GTI handle like a GTI?
While we can’t tell you until we’ve driven it if the new Polo GTI handles like a GTI, we can tell you what Volkswagen has done to make it potentially feel like one. The new car has ‘Sports’ running gear along with XDS electronic differential lock. Lowered by 15 millimetres over other Polos, the XDS controls the brake pressure of the front wheel on the inside of the bends to prevent the wheel from spinning and loss of control of the vehicle in extreme situations and is part of the electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control systems.

As before, the new Polo GTI can be optionally specified with ‘Sport Select’ running gear. This includes two different damping settings for the switchable shock absorbers, a thicker anti-roll bar on the front axle, more rigid coupling rods at the front and stiffer axle locating mounts at the rear.

Four driving modes – four modes Eco, Individual, Normal and Sport – allow for individual driver settings and preferences and the steering, engine characteristics and gearbox control system are adapted in addition to the Sport Select running gear. While our favourite mode was ‘Sport’ in the outgoing car, the suspension was very stiff. But this is easily overcome in the configurable ‘Individual’ driving profile which still allows for sportier driving steering and noise, but without the uncomfortable ride.

That sounds like quite a lot of tech – is there more?
Yes, the 2022 Polo GTI comes loaded with VW’s latest safety and assisted driving systems. The safest Polo GTI ever, the new model has LED matrix headlights as standard, along with Volkswagen’s ‘IQ Drive’ Travel Assist system which allows partly automated driving. The system can take over steering, braking and acceleration from standstill up to 130mph, using the predictive adaptive cruise control and lane assist functions.

The new Polo GTI has a lane assist lane keeping system as standard, but optional side assist and rear traffic alert, as well as front assist and proactive protection and area – pedestrian and cyclist – monitoring systems can be added. An autonomous emergency braking front assist system is also fitted and includes the automatic city emergency braking function which initiates full braking to reduce the severity of an accident at speeds under 18mph.

Driver alert and automatic post-collision braking as well as proactive occupant protection and tyre pressure monitoring systems are also standard-fit. An automatic assisted parking system can optionally guide the Polo GTI into parking bays and parallel spaces.

Phew! Anything else I need to know – how much is it?
Sadly, prices haven’t been revealed yet. The outgoing Polo GTI starts at £24,155, so we’d expect a modest increase on that. As for availability, UK sales of the new Polo GTI begin in early 2022, but old models – with the new car’s engine! – are still available from stock, should you not be bowled over by the new car’s looks or digital interior… We look forward to bringing you further details, and hopefully driving impressions, of the exciting newcomer as soon as we can.

What do you think of the new 2022 Polo GTI? Let us know in the comments section below.

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