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Three. That’s the precise number of horsepowers this 2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC car has over its 2014 predecessor.

Revealed today in Wolfsburg, Volkswagen has rolled out a radically different looking - if not radically different - WRC contender to defend its titles with. Oh, did you forget already? VW won both 2013 and 2014 WRC titles.

So why tinker with excellence? The new Polo R WRC car retains the familiar 1.6-litre turbo four pot (now kicking out 318bhp), permanent four-wheel-drive and MacPherson strut suspension setup.

But as ever, the Germans have been beavering away underneath to make everything more efficient, reliable and faster. There’s a new hydraulically activated gearbox with paddle-shifters on the steering wheel - the biggest innovation we’re told over the last car.

Not only that, but three quarters of the components from last year’s Polo R WRC were checked, and ‘optimised’, “with the aim of making everything simpler, lighter and stronger.”

WRC fans will notice the exterior has undergone quite a change, too. There’s a new livery, plenty of supplier logos (you’ll have spotted a really big one), and of course, an even bigger and - in VW’s own words - “towering new rear wing”. Big wings are always better.

Sebastien Ogier, said: “I am very optimistic that the new car will get off to just as good a start as its predecessor,” while Andreas Mikkelsen noted just how quick the old car was.

“Our world championship winning car has more than proven itself,” Andreas said, “and is certainly anything but slow.”

Wonder when we’ll see the road-going, 318bhp Polo R…

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