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Classified ad of the week: VW Polo G40
f you’ve been paying attention to TopGear.com, you might have noticed a glut of fruity new hot hatches. And the thought of all that diminutive fun’s had us rummaging through the classifieds for reassuringly inexpensive 205 GTIs, Mk I Golfs, and Richard’s favourite - the Renault Clio Williams.
But while we were there, we spotted this. It looks like Volkswagen’s instantly forgettable MkIII Polo. That’s largely because it is. But it’s also not… That little G40 badge means it’s a one-of-500 right-hand drive supercharged models.
Yep, lurking in that pocket-sized bay’s a 1.3-litre engine with a ‘G-Lader’ supercharger - named after the shape of its spiral displacer - that makes 113 bhp at 6,000 rpm, and 111 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. Doesn’t sound much, but it only weighs 830kg, so it’ll get to 0-60mph in just 8.1 seconds (0.1 seconds quicker than a 1.9-litre 205 GTI), and on to 121mph.
It also got lowered and stiffened suspension with a rear anti-roll bar, ventilated front discs, and 175/60 tyres on 13 x 5.5 BBS alloy rims. There were also the requisite red stripes on the bumpers, a special ‘Le Mans’ interior cloth, and a stubby roof-mounted aerial.
As you’d imagine, these sorts of fripperies attracted a certain kind of buyer. And they attracted a lot of G40s to fast food restaurant car parks, trees, ditches, central reservations and, eventually, the scrap yard. But this Alpine white example with just 43,000 miles looks like it’s been sheltered from such an existence - the vendor tells us it was owned by a keen car collector and engineer who kept it garaged for most of its life.
But d’you think it’s worth the £6,495 pricetag, TopGear.commers? And would you take it over a more popular sot of hot hatch?