10 August 2023 ~ 2 Comments

UK order books open for the Volkswagen Polo GTI Edition 25

Volkswagen is celebrating 25 years of the Polo GTI in 2023 with the limited edition Polo GTI Edition 25, and following the German on-sale date of 1 June, the UK has been confirmed as one of the markets which will get the car. The special model will only head to Europe and Japan.

UK order books for the Polo GTI Edition 25 opened on 31 July, with 350 of the 2,500 production run cars available from 3 August. Prices start at £31,295, and those lucky Polo GTI fans who secure a Polo GTI Edition 25 will get a host of features unique to this anniversary model. The Edition 25 marks the first time Volkswagen has celebrated the Polo GTI with a commemorative version, unlike the numerous anniversary models associated with the Golf GTI.

Visual tweaks
For the extra £2,390 the Polo GTI Edition 25 costs over the ‘standard’ Polo GTI, buyers gain visual tweaks and extra equipment. Outside, there are gloss-black 18-inch ‘Adelaide’ alloy wheels (the standard Polo GTI wears 17-inch ‘Parker’ rims), and unique ‘25’ and honeycomb graphics on the doors, in a style similar to those on the commemorative 2021 VW Golf GTI Clubsport 45. The roof and door mirror caps are also painted gloss black. An additional unique feature of the Polo GTI Edition 25 is the addition of Ascot Grey to the usual GTI colour palette.

Inside, the sports seats are trimmed in perforated black and red leather, and the dashpad is finished in gloss black with red air vent surrounds. A ‘GTI’ logo sits ahead of the passenger, while a ‘25’ logo appears in the steering wheel’s lower spoke. Sill plates also state that individual examples of the Polo GTI Edition 25 examples are ‘One of 2500’ – there is no personalised number.

0-62mph in 6.5 seconds
Sadly there is also no boost in power, which has, in the past, been a feature of anniversary Golf GTI models. So power is the same at 204bhp (207PS/152kW) as the standard Polo GTI, with which the Edition 25 also shares its running gear, including ‘XDS’ electronic differential lock and 15mm lower suspension than a ‘standard’ Polo. The standard Polo GTI’s seven-speed DSG gearbox is also fitted, helping the Polo GTI Edition 25 get from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Mobile phone preparation with inductive charging, keyless locking and starting with Safelock, heated front seats and a rear-view camera are also standard, the £31,295 RRP ‘on the road’ price including VAT. The 2023 Volkswagen Polo GTI Edition 25 is available from Volkswagen Retailers with a £1,500 deposit contribution, as well as a 6.9 per cent personal contract plan from Volkswagen Financial Services.

Polo GTI history
The hot Polo story began in 1979, with the 1,272cc, 60bhp Polo GT and went on to include the supercharged 113bhp Polo G40. The first Polo GTI went on sale in 1998 as a special edition of the third-generation Polo. Only available in Germany, it enjoyed a limited production run of 3,000 units. Read our previous Polo GTI Edition 25 post for more on the quarter-century history of the Polo GTI.

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17 May 2023 ~ 2 Comments

Volkswagen celebrates Polo GTI quarter century with limited Polo GTI Edition 25

The 48-year-old Golf GTI may be Volkswagen’s most revered sporting hatchback, but the Polo GTI has been offering a similar recipe in a smaller package for just under three decades now. Volkswagen is recognising this fact with the new Polo GTI Edition 25 model announced today. On sale on 1 June, the 2023 Volkswagen Polo GTI Edition 25 will be priced from €35,205.

The first Polo GTI went on sale in 1998 as a special edition of the then third-generation Polo, enjoying a limited production run of 3,000 units and German market-only availability. The hot Polo story began in 1979, though, with the 1,272cc, 60bhp Polo GT and went on to include the now fondly remembered supercharged 113bhp Polo G40.

Host of unique features
In a similar style to the numerous Golf GTI special editions that have punctuated the hot hatch’s career, the Polo GTI Edition 25 features a host of unique features. And like that original Polo GTI, the Polo GTI Edition 25 is a limited-run model, with only 2,500 units being produced. Power is the same at 204bhp (207PS/152kW), with the same running gear as the standard Polo GTI including ‘XDS’ electronic differential lock and 15mm lower suspension than a ‘standard’ Polo.

Where the Polo GTI Edition 25 differs most to the standard Polo GTI is in both visual and kit enhancements. Externally, 18-inch ‘Adelaide’ alloy wheels finished in gloss black join the usual red-trimmed grille and red brake calipers, with the roof and door mirror caps also gaining the dark finish.

Ascot Grey paint debut
In the initial press images, a repeating honeycomb graphic similar in style to that of the 2021 Golf GTI Clubsport 45 adorns the lower part of the front doors, the rear doors featuring a ‘25’ logo. Ascot Grey is added to the Polo GTI colour palette for the first time, the Polo GTI Edition 25 also available in the standard shades of Deep Black Pearl Effect, Kings Red Metallic, Pure White, Reef Blue Metallic and Smoke Grey Metallic.

Step inside, and a ‘One of 2500’ sill plate signifies that the Polo GTI Edition 25 is something a little more special – there is no true personalised number, though. The standard ‘Jacara’/’Clark’ tartan seat trim has been junked, the sports seats trimmed in perforated black and red leather with stitched-in ‘GTI’ logos.

Black and red inserts
Upfront, the usual ‘Deep Iron Grey’ coloured dashpad has been replaced with a gloss black insert with red highlights around the air vents and door handles, as well as a red ‘GTI’ logo ahead of the passenger. The multifunction steering wheel – to which the paddleshifts for the seven-speed DSG gearbox are attached – is fitted with a ‘25’ logo in its lower spoke. A high resolution eight-inch ‘Ready2Discover’ infotainment system is standard.

Other standard innovations include Volkswagen’s IQ Light LED matrix headlights with dynamic light assist functionality and LED daytime running lights. The optional Travel Assist system forms part of the IQ Drive assist package which also includes adaptive cruise control and lane assist systems.

‘Home of the Polo GTI’
The Polo GTI Edition 25 and other sixth-generation Polo-based Polo GTIs are exclusively built at Volkswagen South Africa’s Kariega plant. The ‘home of the Polo GTI’, the factory, opened in 1951, is situated near Port Elizabeth and is the largest car manufacturing facility on the African continent. ‘Our team in South Africa is really proud of this car’, said Martina Biene, managing director and chairperson of Volkswagen Group South Africa. ‘The Polo has a long tradition here – especially the Polo GTI.’ Volkswagen South Africa produces the Polo Vivo, the Polo and the Polo GTI.

The third-generation Polo was the first to wear Volkswagen’s iconic three letter badge. Limited to 3,000 units, the limited model sold out as fast as its 9.1-second 0-60mph time. Marked out by ‘GTI’ badges, 15-inch BBS alloy wheels, red seatbelts and unique ‘1’ interior trim, the subtle-looking model started the Polo GTI ball rolling.

1999-2001 Polo GTI
Updated in 1999 when the facelifted third-generation Polo arrived, the GTI became a permanent fixture in the Polo range. Featuring much the same recipe as before, its 1.6-litre 125bhp 16V engine with variable valve timing technology was 5bhp up on the 1998 version.

2006-2009 Polo GTI
The introduction of the refreshed fourth-generation ‘9N3’ Polo in 2006 saw the next Polo GTI arrive. With 148bhp from its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine, a special 178bhp Polo GTI Cup Edition was fitted with a unique body kit based on the Polo Cup racing cars that pounded the racetracks in Europe.

2010-2017 Polo GTI
Switching tack was the twincharged (super and turbocharged) Polo GTI of 2010. The 1.4-litre TSI engine was exclusively paired with a seven-speed DSG gearbox for a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds. With 17-inch ‘Monza’ wheels that aped the Golf GTI, it looked every inch the hot hatch. Sharpened up in 2014 with the arrival of the updated fifth-generation model, the 1.4 engine was swapped for a 1.8-litre turbocharged unit with 189bhp and the choice of both manual and DSG gearboxes.

2017-2023 Polo GTI
Now very firmly a mainstay of the family, the Polo GTI of the sixth-generation Polo range had 197bhp and a six-speed DSG gearbox, sprinting to 62mph from rest in 6.7 seconds. A suite of new high resolution infotainment systems and a 10.3-inch digital driver’s display were among the technological highlights. In 2021 the refreshed model debuted – still based on Volkswagen’s successful MQB platform architecture – with 204bhp and subtle styling enhancements inside and out. It is this car on which the Polo GTI Edition 25 is based.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The Polo GTI of the sixth-generation Polo has been campaigned successfully in motorsport, both on and off the track. The car has provided a base for the Polo GTI R5 rally car, as well as the Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa Polo Cup one-make series circuit racer.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

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25 February 2023 ~ 1 Comment

Car & Classic auction watch: 2012 Volkswagen Polo GTI

This one probably falls more under the ‘car’ rather than the ‘classic’ of the listing website’s title, but whatever, it looks very appealing to this author’s eyes. Behold the clean-lined – and red – majesty of this 2012 Polo GTI, freshly imported from Japan.

The fifth-generation Polo GTI (not the actual fifth-generation of Polo GTI) was unveiled in May 2010, 14 months after the debut of the ‘regular’ model. Following the 148bhp model of the same name based on the fourth generation ‘9N3’ Polo, the newcomer – ‘6R’ in Polo geek speak – packed a 178bhp punch courtesy of a turbo and supercharged engine.

The 1.4-litre ‘twincharger’ unit was around 400cc down on the engine of its predecessor, which appeared in all manner of Volkswagens, Audis, SEATs and Skodas. Despite being smaller in size than the one before, the new four-cylinder unit was advanced in terms of technology, and the new car scampered to 62mph from rest in 6.9 seconds, 1.3 seconds faster than its forebear. The 6R GTI was lighter, too; the three-door GTI’s 1269kg a smidge less than the 9N3 GTI’s 1283kg.

Exclusively DSG
One important difference between old and new was the fact that the 6R GTI was exclusively available with Volkswagen’s much-praised DSG dual-clutch gearbox. Both a blessing and a curse, its high-tech appeal won over some drivers, while others bemoaned the lack of a manual option. With small paddles behind the steering wheel, and a ‘Sport’ mode in the gearbox itself, Volkswagen did compensate for keener drivers, but for some, it wasn’t enough. However, it did make the car an arguably easier daily driver for those scooting about the city.

For PoloDriver.com, the 6R Polo GTI’s crowning glory was always its looks. Taking cues from the popular and acclaimed Mk 5 Golf GTI, the contemporary hot Polo featured 17-inch ‘Monza’ (or ‘Detroit’, depending on the market) alloy wheels, new front and rear bumpers, a red-trimmed and honeycomb mesh-filled front grille, side skirt trims, a rear spoiler, and twin exhaust pipes. Inside, there was ‘Jacara’ (or ‘Jacky’) tartan-trimmed sports seats, black headlining, and a squared-off and leather-trimmed steering wheel with red stitching and a ‘GTI’ badge. In terms of looking the business, it was job done. Mature and subtle it predictably was, but it was none the worse for it.

A facelift – the car renamed the ‘6C’ – in December 2014 dispensed with the twincharger engine, replacing it with a turbocharged 1.8-litre engine with 189bhp, and also brought sharper looks inside and out. But the 6R Polo GTI appeals because of its subtler appearance, the Golf GTI-aping alloy wheels and the certain charm of the earlier interior.

Still plentiful (ish) in the UK – comparatively, the GTI has never been a strong-selling Polo – a small but increasing number of right-hand drive cars are starting to appear on UK soil from Japan. One such car is the car pictured here, currently up for auction on the Car & Classic website. Resplendent in its Flash Red paintwork, the 2012 car has covered just 45,300 miles from new, and looks superb. There is a little wear and collapse on one of the driver’s seat bolsters, but that’s the only discernible mark that can be seen after 11 years of use. Due to the lack of salt on the roads in Japan, the underside looks nice and clean and the car certainly seems to have been looked after well.

Notable features
Another ex-Japanese car, this time a Candy White example with 54,000 miles, is for sale here, and like the Car & Classic GTI, has a couple of notable features over UK models. While the DSG automatic box is shared with Uk and European markets, Japanese cars appear to get climate control as standard (a £375 option in the UK), as well as a touchscreen infotainment system – a Grundig unit in the Car & Classic GTI’s case – the cheapest of which in the UK was the £300 RCD 510 system (another £420 bought the RNS 315 system with navigation). Other bonuses of these cars are the standard-fit bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime-running lights, a £765 UK option.

While we can’t detect anything different with either car’s engine, it’s worth noting that 6R Polo GTIs in China came with a 1.4 TSI engine with 130bhp, not the full-fat 178bhp. A quick online check reveals that Japanese cars appear to share the higher output of their European cousins. One question we do have though, is why the sudden rash of imports; a handful of right-hand drive Cross Polos have also recently landed on UK shores.

A car which was transformatively much better than the car which preceded it – and the 6C is sharper still – the 6R Polo GTI is an evergreen PoloDriver.com favourite. We’d have very little hesitation in investigating the Car & Classic car, but do check is all well mechanically, as the twincharged engines can have oil use issues. Once that is done, though, just drive and enjoy, revelling in the high quality fifth-generation Polo build. If the Car & Classic GTI goes for under £8,000, then someone will get a bargain. The Car & Classic 2012 Polo GTI auction ends at 20:15 on Monday 27 February.

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16 May 2022 ~ 2 Comments

Car & Classic Auction watch: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The 2000-2002 Volkswagen Polo GTI established the model’s name in the UK, building on the fun factor of the early Nineties Polo G40. A fun car with a bright personality, PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding owned one for almost a decade. Now you can, as a low mileage example comes up for auction on the Car & Classic website.

Oh my. Look at this. I have very happy memories of this one. Although the Polo GTI first gained VW’s legendary go-faster badge almost 25 years ago, the first cars released in 1998 were limited in number. Only 3,000 of the 120bhp Polo GTI were available to Polo fans in Europe. Once they were gone, customers had to wait until the refreshed third-generation Polo was launched in the autumn of 1999 to get their hands on, what was billed at the time, the spiritual successor to the original 1976 Golf GTI.

Zippy personality
But it was worth the wait. The revamped cars gained 3bhp, and a more ‘GTI’ look, even though they shared much with the original run of cars. The 15-inch BBS alloy wheels were the same, slightly bonkers – and bright, unless the optional posher leather trim was specified – interior was the same, and the re-invigorated hot Polo’s get-up-and-go was the same, too. The 0-62mph dash was dispatched in 8.7 seconds, although the Polo GTI’s 1.6-litre engine’s revvy and zippy personality made it feel faster.

I ran a 2001 Polo GTI for almost 10 years and loved it. Well-built with a colourful interior and many ‘big-car’ appointments such as xenon headlamps – the Polo GTI was the first small car to have them as standard – ABS, and traction control, it was never the sharpest driving tool in the box, but it was still a lot of fun. Which is why this 2001 Polo GTI which goes under the Car & Classic online auction hammer later today, piqued my interest.

As the auction for the 2001 Polo GTI drew near, enthusiasts and car aficionados couldn’t help but reminisce about the unique charm of this iconic vehicle. While it may not have been the most cutting-edge performance car, its lively and spirited nature resonated with those who appreciated its zippy personality. And just like any beloved car, owners often sought ways to personalize and enhance their driving experience. From flashy spoilers to sleek body kits, car accessories played a crucial role in adding a touch of individuality to these automotive gems. Even today, car enthusiasts explore the world of accessories to elevate the style and functionality of their beloved vehicles, whether it’s a vintage Polo GTI or a modern Tesla Model 3. Speaking of which, the ever-growing market of tesla model y accessories continues to cater to the desires of owners who want to tailor their electric masterpieces to their unique preferences and needs.

Low mileage example
Only sold in the UK from 2000-2002, the ‘6N2’ Polo GTI is a moderately rare car, with only 3,300 imported during that period. Many have been modified or written-off (as happened to my beloved car, but only because it was involved in a rear-end smash in the summer of 2021), so there tend to be few chances to find a low mileage example. And what a gem this car looks to be.

The headline stats are one owner, and 86,000 miles. Yes, that’s right, this car has had just one owner, and has covered under 90,000 miles in 21 years. Externally, aside from its headlamps, which could do with a polish, it looks perfect, the Reflex Silver paintwork – the millennial Polo GTI was only available in black, red or silver like the original Golf GTI – contrasting nicely with the red tail lights.

Refurbished wheels
The brake calipers peeping out from behind the 15-inch BBS rims are red, just as they left the factory, and the split-rim wheels themselves have been refurbished. The listing stated that there is a very small imperfection on the paint on a wheel arch, but you’d be hard-pressed to see it. Inside, the Lupo-derived dash is fantastic, the red door cards look clean, as do the strangely-upholstered (I’ve never understood the number 1) sports seats. There’s a little wear on the outside bolsters which seems odd, as my car seemed to not suffer this, even after 148,000 miles, however, it’s all more than presentable.

The Sony six-CD autochanger is present and correct in the boot, and under the bonnet, the engine looks great, with its red HT leads still in place. A full service has just been undertaken, including a cambelt change, and the car has new Toyo tyres as well as new brake pads and discs. It also has a full service history and even the original bill of sale.

Potential modern classic
All in all, this Polo GTI is a great starting place for a potential modern classic. Although not quite at ‘classic’ level yet – the car has always lived in the Golf GTI’s shadow – as they get rarer, who knows what the future might hold for the 6N2 Polo GTI. But you’ve only got to look at the pictures to see the potential: tidy, understated styling that looks just right, wheels in a classic design that really suit the car, and an interior which screams ‘fun’ in a rare break from the Volkswagen norm. Add in a fantastically solid build, a zesty engine and that GTI practicality, and it looks a winner. I know, I owned one.

If you fancy owning one, too, head over to the Car & Classic listing to see full details and lots of photos of the car. The Polo GTI Car & Classic Auction starts at 14:30 today, 16 May.

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08 January 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Polo named the UK’s most popular Volkswagen in 2021; brand is UK’s no 1

New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the Polo was the most popular Volkswagen in the UK during 2021. More than 30,634 Polos were registered in the UK last year – that’s 394 more than even the perennial Golf.

The small Volkswagen was the fifth most popular car overall, and the third most popular supermini, following the Vauxhall Corsa in first place (40,914 units) and the Mini (31,792 units). The Corsa knocked the Ford Fiesta from its long-held top spot, thanks in part to the sem-conductor chip shortage which has plagued the car industry during 2021 and looks set to continue into 2022.

Volkswagen is UK’s most popular car brand
While the Polo missed out on a place in December’s UK top ten of most popular models, it was the most popular car in the UK twice during 2021, the first time in July, the second in October. The popularity of the Polo helped Volkswagen become the UK’s most popular car brand in 2021, with a total of 147,826 vehicles registered. 

The new all-electric ID 3 and ID 4 cars also aided Volkswagen’s rise to the top, with the ID 3 being the UK’s third most popular electric car in 2021, with 11,032 finding homes. It was also the recipient of 11 of Volkswagen’s 30 UK awards, while its ID 4 sibling was named World Car of the Year. Volkswagen’s share of the UK car market now stands at 8.97 per cent, and it leads the market for the first time.

The UK’s top ten most popular new cars during 2021 were as follows:

1 Vauxhall Corsa: 40,914
2 Tesla Model 3: 34,783
3 Mini: 31,792
4 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 30,710
5 Volkswagen Polo: 30,234
6 Volkswagen Golf: 30,240
7 Nissan Qashqai: 29,922
8 Ford Puma: 28,697
9 Kia Sportage: 27,611
10 Toyota Yaris: 27,415

The updated version of the sixth-generation Polo went on sale in September 2021, after being unveiled in April. As well as a more digitised interior, the new Polo has sharper looks, and a new range of trim levels. A new more powerful 204bhp Polo GTI opened for UK order in November.

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