For the first time ever, Volkswagen will have three GTIs in its lineup. The Golf—which started the trend—the Up!—which launched at Wörthersee this summer—and now the latest iteration of the Polo GTI.
With about 200 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, the middle GTI now has about 10 more hp than its predecessor and only about 30 hp less than its big sister, the Golf GTI.
Thanks to its 11.65:1 compression ratio, the latest generation EA888 engine’s horses are kicking their hardest between 4,400 and 6,000 rpm, while it pounds its feet the hardest at just 1,500 rpm, plateauing all the way to 4,400 rpm, so that the throttle pedal is always providing excitement.
The changes extend beyond just the powerful 2-liter four cylinder engine, though. A standard 6-speed DSG gearbox takes care of gear selection and sends power, as always, to the front wheels. Once there, whichever wheel has the most grip is prioritized with an XDS diff lock.
Rather than funneling power to the wheel with the most grip, the system hijacks the ESC system to slow down the wheel with less grip—say, the inside wheel when going around a corner—improving handling.
The handling is also aided by the coil spring struts and lower wishbones, like all Polos. The GTI, though gets an additional anti-roll bar up front to help you (well not you, but Youropeans) through the long sweepers. Out back, meanwhile, there’s a semi-independent twist beam suspension, tied to gas filled dampers and separate springs.
Those springs, fore and aft, are sport tuned in the GTI, lowering the car by 15 mm (1/2 inch). If you live around particularly bumpy roads, though, you can also optionally get the “Sport Select” suspension, that allows the driver to cycle between sport and comfort modes. These affect the suspension as well as the steering and how long the transmission hangs on to gears.
Thanks to all of this chassis work and the 200 hp engine, the Polo GTI can get to 60 in 6.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 237 km/h (147 mph).
Inside, too, there are some updates that mark this out as a fancier car. These include a 10.25-inch active info display (in place of the gauge cluster) and a 6.5-inch infotainment display in the center. The Polo GTI can also, of course, be fitted with tartan seats.