15 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

“More sporty driving style” – new Polo GTI debuts at IAA 2017

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI: IAA 2017

As well as the first public showings of the T-Roc SUV, the latest I.D. Crozz electric concept car, and the new Polo range in general, Volkswagen also chose the 2017 Frankfurt motor show (14-24 September) to debut the new Polo GTI. Although the 2018 version of the hot hatchback was shown at the new Polo’s global unveiling in Berlin on 16 June, its world premiere at IAA 2017 was the first time the car had been seen by a public audience, just as with the more mainstream models.

200PS, 320Nm and XDS
As well as unveiling the car alongside the smaller Up GTI, more details of the latest performance Polo have also been revealed. Of course, the headlines are unchanged from the June new Polo launch: 197bhp (200PS) 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, 236lb ft (320Nm) of torque, a top speed of 147mph (237km/h), with sports suspension and Volkswagen’s XDS electronic differential lock as standard.

The increase to 1,984cc means that the Polo GTI is in the 2.0-litre performance hatchback category for the first time, while maximum power is delivered between 4,400 and 6,000rpm. The EA888-derived unit’s maximum torque meanwhile can be accessed from as low as 1,500rpm. The car will also launch with a six-speed DSG gearbox (as with the 2010-2014 Polo GTI ‘6R’), but don’t fret: a six-speed manual will follow for all you cog-swappers. For those interested, emissions are 134g/km, 5g/km down on the outgoing 189bhp Polo GTI.

Externally, the car looks every inch a GTI. All the sub-brand’s signifiers which have identified go-faster VWs since 1976 are there: the ‘GTI’ badges, the red grille strip (which, as before, extends into the headlamps), honeycomb air intakes, while the 2018 Polo GTI also adopts key new Volkswagen styling trends such as the C-shaped gloss black lower front bumper sections which frame the integrated fog lights.

The hottest of Polos
There are also 17-inch ‘Milton Keynes’ (we like the acknowledgement of the company’s UK base here) alloy wheels – with the option to upgrade to 18-inch ‘Brescia’ rims, red-painted brake calipers, a black two-piece rear spoiler, rear diffuser and that other GTI styling trademark, a pair of twin chrome tailpipes. LED tail lights are also another feature which mark out the hottest of Polos.

Inside, the traditional GTI colour scheme of black, grey and red is echoed with black roof lining, while red stitching features on the leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever trim, floor mats, and seats. The ‘Clark’ plaid upholstery is also present of course, while the full-width dashboard panel can be chosen in Deep Iron Glossy or Velvet Red colourways.

Other GTI signatures include the new Polo GTI’s colour palette. The traditional black, red and white (Deep Black Pearl Effect, Flash Red, and Pure White) are compulsorily included in the new car’s color choice, but new shades Limestone Grey Metallic and Reef Blue Metallic are also added to the mix. We note there is no Reflex Silver Metallic this time around and would dispute the fact that blue is a GTI colour at all…

New looks, new technology
As well as the new looks there is also plentiful new technology to enjoy. The second-generation of Volkswagen’s Active Info Display digital instruments debuts on the new Polo and the 2018 Polo GTI gets a special sports-orientated set-up. The 10.25-inch, 1,280 x 480 pixel-display coordinates with the latest 6.5 and 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment systems, which have been sensibly moved higher up towards the top of the dashboard to create a wide horizontal visual ‘bank’ of information.

Safety is high, too, with front area monitoring, emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring systems as standard. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, park assist, and rear traffic alert systems also help to make the 2018 Polo GTI the safest ever. Other kit includes a driving profile selection system, while ‘Sport Select’ adjustable dampers, the largest panoramic sunroof in its class and a 300W Beats Audio upgrade are optional allures.

“More sporty driving style”
Unveiling the 2018 Polo GTI on the Volkswagen stand in Frankfurt, Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand excitingly said: “With 147kW/200PS and, thanks to the running gear lowered by 15mm, with more sporty driving style, the new Polo GTI sets new standards in its class”.

How high those standards have been raised we don’t yet know, but as lower-powered versions of the new Polo feel both more agile and much more secure on the road, it bodes well, and that bold claim may well stand up. Prices and exact specifications for all markets were not revealed in Frankfurt, but are expected ahead of the car’s launch towards the end of the year.

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