Volkswagen’s answer to the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i20 N hot hatch superminis has been given a thorough once over ahead of its arrival in Northern Ireland.
Priced from £26,430 and available in one specification only, the front-wheel-drive flagship model follows the launch of the regular car that was revised earlier this year.
Powered by the same 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol as before, power remains unchanged at 204bhp with maximum torque (236lb ft). Relayed to the front axle via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, it all adds up to a 0-62mph time of 6.5 second and a 149mph top speed.
While the engine is unchanged, the same can’t be said for the Polo GTI’s oily bits as it now runs a larger front anti-roll bar, more rigid coupling rods at the front, and stiffer axle-locating mounts at the rear.
In tandem with a 15mm lower ride height compared to the everyday Polo, and the standard-fit electronic front differential, Volkswagen says this “assists both stability and driver enjoyment”.
Adding to the car’s character is one of four driving modes – Eco, Individual, Normal and Sport – with each said to have “a direct effect on vehicle dynamics” by altering the steering weight, gear changes and exhaust note.
Matrix LED headlights come as standard and are joined by an illuminated radiator grille – cues that are shared with its larger Golf GTI brother. At the rear, the two-piece tail-lights incorporate scrolling indicators and the bumper is now wider than before to create “a more confident and wider stance”.
Red brake calipers and 17-inch alloys that take their inspiration from the Golf also feature, while customers can choose from ‘Pure White’, ‘Deep Black Pearl’, ‘Kings Red Metallic’, ‘Reef Blue Metallic’ and ‘Smokey Grey Metallic’ body colours. A black contrast roof can be matched to white, red and blue hues.
Based on ‘Life’ trim, the Polo GTI comes with a 10.25-inch digital instrument display on top of an 8-inch multimedia system with sat-nav. Ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control also appear, with a panoramic sunroof, voice control, wireless charging, a Beats sound system and 18-inch alloy wheels among the options.
Making its debut is Volkswagen’s Travel Assist – a system that includes adaptive cruise control, lane assist, side assist and rear traffic alert. Autonomous emergency braking, driver alert system and automatic post-collision braking are standard as well.