25 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

It’s coming – four-wheel drive super-Polo R confirmed for production!

2014 Volkswagen Golf R

On-off. On-off. It’s long been rumoured, but now – at last! – a four-wheel drive super-Polo might just about to become a reality. Volkswagen held a driving event for the forthcoming 296bhp four-wheel drive Golf R this week and, it would appear, sneaked in a couple of Polo R prototypes.

Journalists were given the chance to take them for a spin around a Swedish frozen lake. We saw the first drive on Autocar, where the 250bhp Polo was described as ‘composed, controllable and hugely entertaining’. At last!

Exact details are to be confirmed, but the Polo R is touted to put out al least 250bhp from it’s 2.0-litre TSI engine. The four-wheel drive Audi S1 is believed to have settled the business case which so far the car has lacked. Both share chassis and therefore the four-wheel drive system which, for the Polo, has necessitated a new multi-link rear suspension arrangement.

Autocar states that performance is more than brisk, with 62mph coming up in around six seconds. The black and white prototypes which have been pictured were running a six-speed DSG gearbox (and winter tyres on smaller alloy wheels).

With the Audi S1 believed to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, it’s possible the Polo R could be rushed through once evaluation has been completed to debut at the same event. A facelifted model of the Volkswagen supermini is also rumoured to be making an appearance in Switzerland.

Very different mechanically to the 2500 front-wheel drive Polo R WRC road cars (front-wheel drive, 217bhp, six-speed manual) launched to make the Polo R WRC rally eligible for the World Rally Championship, the Polo R could make a real halo car for the almost-40 year-old sub-brand and become the great handling, super-quick super-Polo we’ve only ever dared dreamed of before.

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10 December 2012 ~ 3 Comments

Limited edition €33,900 217bhp Polo R WRC ‘Street’ launched in Monaco

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC 'Street'

In addition to the unveiling of the Polo R WRC rally car in Monaco on Saturday evening, Volkswagen also pulled the covers off its road-going counterpart, the Polo R WRC ‘Street’ (VW also confusingly refers to the full-fat rally car as Polo R WRC, so we’re adding the ‘Street’ suffix). A few hours before the competition car announced the arrival of the company’s 2013 World Rally Championship, the most powerful production Polo ever was launched in the Monte Carlo Sporting Club.

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC Street: Monaco launch

Looking much the same as the Polo R WRC Street Edition concept car seen at the Wörthersee GTI Festival back in May, the production R WRC Street loses the bold blue flashes that adorned its sides (keeping its Volkswagen Motorsport-inspired bonnet and sill graphics), but has otherwise made the transition to from idea to reality unscathed.

Available as a three-door and in white only, the Polo R WRC ‘Street’ has a tuned 2.0-litre TSI engine borrowed from the Mk 6 Golf GTI, developing 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque, enough to get the 1324kg car to 62mph from rest in 6.4 seconds, and onto a top speed of 151mph. That’s 39bhp and 74lb ft more than the high-performance Polo GTI.

Powering the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with short shifts, the Polo R WRC ‘Street’ transfers its power to the road via 18-inch ‘Cagliari’ multi-spoke alloy wheels with 215/35 R18 tyres. Volkswagen describes the car’s underpinnings as a ‘sports chassis’. Let’s hope so!

WRC-style front and rear bumpers and spoilers dominate the Polo R WRC ‘Street’’s appearance, along with blue brake calipers, which up front house 16-inch discs. Bi-xenon headlamps add more visual aggression, while inside, WRC-branded sports seats, multifunction steering wheel, black roof lining, racing pedals, cruise control, light and rain sensors, winter package, climate control, alarm and radio with USB/MP3 connectivity all feature. Just what you need when negotiating the urban jungle. Only 2500 units worldwide will be sold, partly to homologate the competition vehicle.

The price for all this kit and exclusivity? €33,900 or £27,258 to us UK buyers at current exchange rates. However, all Polo R WRC ‘Street’s will be left-hand drive, so it won’t be officially sold in the UK. But, we hear that Volkswagen UK is assessing a potential market for the car. Order books officially open on 11 December 2012 – the first customer cars will be delivered in September 2013.

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10 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Production version of 225bhp Polo R to debut at 2013 Geneva motor show

2013 Volkswagen Polo R

In its latest issue out today, UK motoring magazine Autocar reports that a production version of the Polo R will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March 2013. Fitting in neatly with the full-blown 300bhp all-wheel-drive Polo R WRC taking to the world’s rally stages, the hot newcomer is said to have a tuned version of the outgoing Mk 6 Golf GTI 2.0-litre engine, developing 225bhp. A mechanical limited-slip differential is also set to feature, according to Autocar’s sources. A concept version of the Polo R – the Polo WRC Street – was shown at the 2012 Wörthersee GTI Festival back in May. Prices and exact details of the hottest-ever Polo have yet to be revealed.

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23 April 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Polo R road car once again on ice due to limited sales potential

Volkswagen Polo rendering

We thought we’d heard the end of the story, but the Polo R rumour book has opened again, although once more, it’s not good news. Recent reports state that the road-going Polo R was to be based on the limited edition, 252bhp left-hand drive-only Audi A1 quattro. That car costs £41,020, which would certainly price a similarly-expensive Polo out of the market. Volkswagen has reportedly realised this, admitting that the number of potential buyers for the car would be very limited. The Polo GTI only makes up 1 per cent of Polo sales in the UK.

‘Producing a Polo R road car is one possibility, but we need customers for such a car. Maybe it is easier for Audi than VW to market a powerful, all-wheel-drive city car,’ Volkswagen’s board member for development, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, has reportedly stated. ‘If we make a Polo for WRC homologation, then that makes sense. But in the basic Polo, we don’t have the customers to make a R version of the car,’ he continued. A Polo R road car would make sense from a WRC marketing point of view, but for now it appears as unlikely as ever.

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15 September 2011 ~ 1 Comment

IAA 2011 – Volkswagen launches Polo R-Line at Frankfurt motor show

Although all the hype was around the new Up! city car and the Beetle R Concept, Volkswagen had a surprise for Polo fans at the IAA 2011 in Frankfurt. Unveiling both the first drivable of the Polo R WRC rally car (see our seperate story) and the first-ever Polo R-Line, the company made sure its smaller car followers weren’t left out of the fun. The best-selling car in its class in Germany, the Polo now joins the Golf, Scirocco, Passat CC and Touareg in having an R-branded model in its range. Now, don’t get too excited, the Polo R-Line isn’t a fire-breathing 300bhp road-going version of the Polo R WRC rally car, but rather a stylised model to show what such a car might look like. Think of it as a Polo GTI with a bit more visual punch.

Available at the end of the year, the Polo R-Line shares a more jutting chin with the Golf and Scirocco Rs, has a gloss black radiator grille with ‘R-Line’ badge, deeper side sills, revised front and rear bumpers, a larger than standard rear spoiler and 16-inch ‘Mallory’ alloys (the IAA show car is fitted with 17-inch versions), which for all the world look like the larger 19” ‘Talledega’ versions fitted to the proper R cars. Inside, there’s microfibre front sports seats (in optional Alcantara and leather), embossed head restraints, black roofliner á la Polo GTI, leather steering wheel with ‘R-Line’ badge, gloss black accents and racing-style pedals. Nine colours including the new ‘Fire Spark’ will be available. Volkswagen’s full press release follows.

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