The acronym GTI may be synonymous with the Volkswagen Golf in the U.S., but that’s hardly the case in Europe. First previewed at the Geneva show in March, Volkswagen is launching the new Polo GTI at the end of the summer.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the new Polo GTI is that it’s more efficient that the outgoing car without sacrificing any power. Volkswagen’s 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine has been downsized to just 1.4 liters but maintains its output of 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. With the supercharger providing low-end power, all that twist is available at just 2000 RPM. Power meets the pavement through Volkswagen’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with its XDS limited-slip differential.
Unlike the old model, the new Polo GTI doesn’t get 30 mpg on the European combined cycle and emit 0.67 pounds of CO2 every mile. No, the new Polo GTI gets 40 mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 0.49 pounds of CO2 every mile, an improvement of 25 percent. And just as it still makes plenty of power, the Polo GTI will get you to 62 mph in a mere 6.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 142 mph.
Of course, you’ll need fresh looks to go with your speed. That’s why Volkswagen outfits the Polo GTI with more aggressive fascias and a set of 17-inch wheels off of the Golf GTI backed by red-painted brake calipers. Inside, you’re treated to a flat-bottom steering wheel, sport seats, and contrast stitching. The new Polo GTI is also the first Polo ever to get adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights and a panoramic sunroof.
The Volkswagen Polo GTI is expected to reach European showrooms in August as a 2011 model. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s expected to top the Polo range, which should put its starting price between 18,000 and 20,000 euro. Volkswagen hasn’t yet decided if it will try to sell the Polo in the U.S., so the Polo GTI is out for us at least until Volkswagen decides on the viability of the higher-volume base model on our shores.