I‘ve always wondered what the letters GTI stand for in the iconic performance range of models from Volkswagen? Simply put it stands for Gran Turismo Injection. And we drove the Polo GTI down in Cape Town recently, up the equally exhilerating Franshhoek pass. The VW Polo GTI has a great drive characteristics, and really looks the part as well. It is edgy, sporty and is bound to attract a large following of buyers, who love what GTI stands for.
Lets have a look at the exterior features of the Polo GTI. It starts of course with the signature red stripe in the front radiator grille, the large air intakes with a honeycomb pattern, and optional LED headlights.
At the rear it has a two piece roof spoiler &high-gloss black diffuser. The twin-exhaust pipes scream performance as well. It has LED tail light clusters for extra lighting. The GTI badge is prominent on the front and rear of the Polo. From a side profile the 17 inch wheels, which can be 18 inch as an option, and red brake calipers for extra braking show through nicely. New colours include- the body colours Pure White, Flash Red and Deep Black Pearl Effect. In addition, the sportiest Polo can also be ordered in Reef Blue Metallic.
Into the Cabin.
Any GTI is always styled with the GTI livery, and this one is no exception. It has black seats with red GTI badge, chrome details abound, with the steering wheel, gear knob ,tabs of the air vents, pedals and door trims.
The dash panel can be ordered in Deep Iron Metallic or Velvet Red; meanwhile the instruments in the upper dash area are always finished in black. (Velvet Red dash panel trim is not compatible with Flash Red exterior; in this circumstance, Deep Iron Metallic is specified.)
The new Polo, comes with new Active info display, it offers higher quality graphics and three different layouts, which can be switched from the steering wheel buttons.
A view with two instrument dials, or ‘tubes’: one for the rev counter and one for the speedometer, digital view without dials or digital view without dials with supplemental information. Supplemental information can be configured via the infotainment system.
GTI engine and driving performance.
Now we get down to the heart of the matter, which in the case of the Polo GTI, is the engine of course. In recent times the GTI has always been powered by high torque turbocharged engines. In the case of the new Polo GTI, it is a two-litre direct-injection petrol engine with an output of 147 kW. Like the Golf GTI, the new Polo GTI will be represented in the 2.0-litre turbo class for the first time.
It puts out 320 Nm to the front wheels at a low 1,500 rpm; this high torque figure stays constant up to a speed of 4,400 rpm – giving the GTI engine a torque curve that is hardly traditional; it features an extremely sporty torque plateau.
The new Polo GTI engine launches with a 6-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) as standard. The Polo GTI with DSG accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. Today’s most powerful Polo reaches a top speed of 237 km/h. Despite its power output, the Polo GTI can be driven very economically thanks to its efficient drive technology. The combined fuel consumption of the DSG version is 5.9 l/100 km. This all converts to a lot of fun indeed, and the Polo literally raced up the passes around Cape Town, passing the Theewaterskloof dam, which was thankfully filling up somewhat.
Like all Polo models, the GTI is also equipped with electromechanical power steering and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Also on-board is the XDS differential lock, which further refines traction when cornering quickly. Three drive modes, Sport, Normal & Individual give you a wide scope of driving conditions.
The GTI comes with a myriad of drive features to keep the driver focused on the task at hand, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear traffic alert, Automatic Post Collision system and tyre pressure monitor loss, to name a few.
The Polo GTI also offers numerous details as standard. Beyond the GTI-specific design features, these include additional curtain front and rear, the XDS differential lock, driving profile selection, Composition Media infotainment system, ambient lighting (white), door sill trims with GTI logo, air conditioning, front fog lights and cornering lights, LED tail light clusters, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, floor mats front and rear, electric windows all around with convenience switching, and multifunction display plus.
Pricing- (VAT and emissions tax included)
2.0 TSI 147kW DSG R375 900
The new Polo GTI comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 3year/ 45 000km Volkswagen Service and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km.
Summing up the Polo GTI is a joy to drive, for young drivers and older drivers who like a bit of performance. The styling is definitive and in keeping with the GTI tradition.