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Polo R WRC: too-too-too powerful

Presumably to prevent retinal burning from extended exposure to thousands of giant-wheeled, speedbump-scraping, modded mid-Nineties Golfs, Volkswagen likes to reward the faithful GTI acolytes who flood to Austria’s Worthersee tuning festival with some hot new metal each year.

And 2012 is no exception, it seems. Volkswagen has just torn the covers from the Polo ‘R WRC’, a road-going hot hatch study inspired by its new world rally car.

Gallery: the Volkswagen Polo R WRC ‘Street’ and ‘Race’ cars

Of course, VW already has a hot Polo, in the shape of the 178bhp GTI. But the ‘R WRC’ (pronounced ‘Rework’, we can only assume) is considerably toastier.

How toasty? 222bhp of butter-melting goodness, that’s how toasty. The Rework uses a well-boosted version of VW’s 2.0-litre turbo four-pot, making it more powerful than both the Golf GTI and our current small-hot-hatch favourite, the Clio 200.

The R WRC isn’t quite as powerful as the 252bhp Audi A1 Quattro - a car that shares more than a little with the Polo, remember - but here’s the difference: the A1 has four-wheel drive. The Polo R WRC, VW revealed to Top Gear, sends all its power to the front wheels. Vigorous torque steer ahoy!

Though VW wouldn’t reveal details on the R WRC’s transmission, the absence of a manual shifter leads Top Gear to cunningly deduce the presence of a double-clutch flappy-paddle box. You’re permitted a quick groan, but we’re guessing the WRC’s fat rear diffuser and posh carbon-weave trim will help numb the pain.

As will this bit of news: it’s entering production. A VW chief confirmed to Top Gear that the double-hot Polo won’t remain a concept tease, and should reach the road sooner rather than later. No word on (a) production numbers or (b) pricing, but we’d guess they’ll be (a) low and (b) rather high.

But don’t worry about things like money for the moment, faithful TopGearers. Instead, ponder this question: if and when it reaches production, will the 222bhp Polo R WRC be fast and fizzy enough to knock the Clio 200 from its top-small-hot-hatch perch?

BONUS VIDEO: Check out the anti-lagalicious Polo WRC ‘Race’ car 

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