As a motoring scribe I have driven many cars – both boring and entertaining ones.
My colleague Mark Jones and I have a tendency to think our readers will be interested not only in how the cars carry out their everyday duties, but how they perform on the track.
Though you may not choose to take your car to the track because tyres are expensive and you need the necessary skills, it is always good to know how your pocket rocket performs.
So when the new Volkswagen Polo GTI was delivered to The Citizen’s offices, we headed straight to
the Gerotek Testing facility.
Before we speak numbers, let me tell you about the car.
The Polo GTI, in its sixth generation, is an all-new vehicle, meaning it has been designed from scratch.
It features an independent bumper with integrated spoiler lip and fog lights as standard. Like the Golf GTI, there is a red stripe in the radiator grille and GTI logo on the grille.
At the bottom, the new Polo GTI is differentiated from the less powerful Polo versions by C-shaped black high-gloss air curtains in the bumper.
Inside, you get a customized interior, and our test unit came in black with the dash panel finished in red.
The Polo GTI comes with the optional New Active Info Display.
For the record, this car is the first Volkswagen Group model to feature a new generation Active Info Display.
Like the way you expect a GTI to be, there is multifunction sport steering wheel finished in leather and leather seats with a heating feature as an option.
It comes standard with a sport suspension.
The configuration includes special tuning of the springs, auxiliary springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars, with the body lowered by 15 mm.
The major difference between the new Polo GTI and the outgoing one is under the bonnet. VW has gone against the downsizing trend.
They ditched the previous Polo GTI’s 1.8 litre four-cylinder TSI engine for a 1 988cc 2.0 litre TSI engine for the first time. Power has been upped from 141 kW to 147 kW and that can be felt. Torque figures remain unchanged at 320 Nm.
All that power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG transmission which is offered as standard.
You get four driving modes – ECO, Normal, Sport and Individual.
With my driving mostly done in Normal mode, the Polo GTI handled itself in the most impressive manner.Driving profile selection enables the driver to make individual adjustments, within a defined scope, that have direct effects on vehicle handling.
Along with its effects on the Sport Select suspension, the profile that is selected also modifies the steering, engine characteristic and gearbox control.
Under normal driving situations, the Polo GTI drives fairly well.
With the 0-100 km/h sprint time coming in at 6.72 seconds, ¼ mile in 14.96 seconds and a true top speed of 236.9 km/h when tested at Gerotek, there is no doubting that performance is there thanks to some impressive torque reserves low and mid-way through the Polo’s rev range.
With the six-speed DSG, the powertrain feels decidedly unstressed.
For the record, the 0-100km/h time is similar to the 6.7 seconds Volkswagen claim and 0.2 seconds slower than the Golf GTI’s time.
I managed to average 7.2 l/100km from its 45 litre fuel tank, but the number dropped below the six litre mark once I was cruising on the highway.
You get passive and active safety features such as Blind Spot Monitor, optional as part of the Advanced Safety Package (which includes Parallel Park Assist), Park Distance Control, Rear View camera, Blind Spot Detection and Electric Folding mirrors, Rear Traffic Alert, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and a Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator.
To conclude, the new Polo GTI is a powerful car that delivers a competent, if slightly unexciting performance, time after time.
You could quite easily live with it day to day.