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Hot Hatch

It’s the new Volkswagen Polo GTI!

Hot 192bhp GTI heads up new Polo range – the sixth generation of VW’s Fiesta rival

Published: 16 Jun 2017

There are five versions and three packs, but we’ll kick off with the one that’ll make most sense to you. This is the brand new, sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo, and, in turn, the brand new Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Three letters that will pique your interest. It's the range-topper (unless VW is secretly planning a Polo R), and gets a slightly bigger engine than its predecessor. And more power.

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So there’s now a 2.0-litre turbo with 192bhp (compared to the outgoing GTI’s 1.8-litre unit and 187bhp), matched to your choice of six-speed manual (tick yes) or seven speed DSG (maybe, but probably no), driving the front wheels.

There’s a standard ‘sport’ chassis, and an optional ‘sport select’ chassis (adaptive dampers), along with a specially designed GTI front bumper, GTI badges, optional LEDs, a roof spoiler (‘how’s it going, fellow kids?’), sill extensions and the classic GTI interior. You know, tartan seats, sport steering wheel and red stitching.

It’s spun on VW’s 'MQB A0' platform, which – if you don’t spend your evenings reciting VW Group chassis nomenclature – is the company’s base for compact cars. We’re told it allows for a more wheelbase, length and width, but similar height. So longer base, shorter overhangs and other such things.

For the GTI, it means 18in wheels, which if you think about it, is pretty huge for a small hot hatch. In fact, the standard new Polo is a much bigger car – we’re told that while it’s shorter than the fourth generation VW Golf, it’s actually got a slightly longer wheelbase and more space for the driver, passengers and luggage.

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If you don’t fancy a GTI, there are many, many other trims you can go for. Trendline, Comfortline and Highline, a Beats special edition, and more packs in the form of R-Line, Black and Style. Just try and get your head around that.

There are 14 options for the paint, too, many nice tech things (LED lights, for example, or wireless smartphone charging, or a panoramic roof), and other engines that you probably don’t want but might end up buying.

Engines like a 1.0-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel with up to 94bhp, and even a 1.0-litre natural gas offering, with 89bhp.

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There’s also lots of automated driving functions, naturally, such as active cruise control with braking and park assist. Inside, there’s a new dashboard and cockpit layout, centring on digital things that the modern world demands of a new car. And to be quite frank, it looks quite fantastic. There’s a new generation of active info display, centre screens ranging from 6.5in to 8in, better, clearer graphics and background lighting.

Then comes connected stuff like ‘WePark’ (an app that recognises parking and shows the prices, then bills it automatically), and other stuff like wireless charging and keyless entry. In fact, VW intentionally wanted the interior it to appear like it was from the ‘class above’. “The Polo is no longer just the small sibling of the Golf when it comes to its interior,” VW explains. “It is no longer the car that people only buy when they cannot afford the Golf.”

Would you be swayed from a Golf by this new car?

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