16 May 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Car & Classic Auction watch: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The 2000-2002 Volkswagen Polo GTI established the model’s name in the UK, building on the fun factor of the early Nineties Polo G40. A fun car with a bright personality, PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding owned one for almost a decade. Now you can, as a low mileage example comes up for auction on the Car & Classic website.

Oh my. Look at this. I have very happy memories of this one. Although the Polo GTI first gained VW’s legendary go-faster badge almost 25 years ago, the first cars released in 1998 were limited in number. Only 3,000 of the 120bhp Polo GTI were available to Polo fans in Europe. Once they were gone, customers had to wait until the refreshed third-generation Polo was launched in the autumn of 1999 to get their hands on, what was billed at the time, the spiritual successor to the original 1976 Golf GTI.

Zippy personality
But it was worth the wait. The revamped cars gained 3bhp, and a more ‘GTI’ look, even though they shared much with the original run of cars. The 15-inch BBS alloy wheels were the same, slightly bonkers – and bright, unless the optional posher leather trim was specified – interior was the same, and the re-invigorated hot Polo’s get-up-and-go was the same, too. The 0-62mph dash was dispatched in 8.7 seconds, although the Polo GTI’s 1.6-litre engine’s revvy and zippy personality made it feel faster.

I ran a 2001 Polo GTI for almost 10 years and loved it. Well-built with a colourful interior and many ‘big-car’ appointments such as xenon headlamps – the Polo GTI was the first small car to have them as standard – ABS, and traction control, it was never the sharpest driving tool in the box, but it was still a lot of fun. Which is why this 2001 Polo GTI which goes under the Car & Classic online auction hammer later today, piqued my interest.

Low mileage example
Only sold in the UK from 2000-2002, the ‘6N2’ Polo GTI is a moderately rare car, with only 3,300 imported during that period. Many have been modified or written-off (as happened to my beloved car, but only because it was involved in a rear-end smash in the summer of 2021), so there tend to be few chances to find a low mileage example. And what a gem this car looks to be.

The headline stats are one owner, and 86,000 miles. Yes, that’s right, this car has had just one owner, and has covered under 90,000 miles in 21 years. Externally, aside from its headlamps, which could do with a polish, it looks perfect, the Reflex Silver paintwork – the millennial Polo GTI was only available in black, red or silver like the original Golf GTI – contrasting nicely with the red tail lights.

Refurbished wheels
The brake calipers peeping out from behind the 15-inch BBS rims are red, just as they left the factory, and the split-rim wheels themselves have been refurbished. The listing stated that there is a very small imperfection on the paint on a wheel arch, but you’d be hard-pressed to see it. Inside, the Lupo-derived dash is fantastic, the red door cards look clean, as do the strangely-upholstered (I’ve never understood the number 1) sports seats. There’s a little wear on the outside bolsters which seems odd, as my car seemed to not suffer this, even after 148,000 miles, however, it’s all more than presentable.

The Sony six-CD autochanger is present and correct in the boot, and under the bonnet, the engine looks great, with its red HT leads still in place. A full service has just been undertaken, including a cambelt change, and the car has new Toyo tyres as well as new brake pads and discs. It also has a full service history and even the original bill of sale.

Potential modern classic
All in all, this Polo GTI is a great starting place for a potential modern classic. Although not quite at ‘classic’ level yet – the car has always lived in the Golf GTI’s shadow – as they get rarer, who knows what the future might hold for the 6N2 Polo GTI. But you’ve only got to look at the pictures to see the potential: tidy, understated styling that looks just right, wheels in a classic design that really suit the car, and an interior which screams ‘fun’ in a rare break from the Volkswagen norm. Add in a fantastically solid build, a zesty engine and that GTI practicality, and it looks a winner. I know, I owned one.

If you fancy owning one, too, head over to the Car & Classic listing to see full details and lots of photos of the car. The Polo GTI Car & Classic Auction starts at 14:30 today, 16 May.

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