Joshua Dowling May 23, 2012
Pint-sized hot hatch set for 2013 debut.
German car maker Volkswagen will give its Polo city car a multi-million-dollar overhaul to create its most pint-sized hot hatch to date.
Plans for a Polo R were initially under a cloud because it required a major engineering rework to accommodate an all-wheel-drive system.
But Volkswagen has now confirmed it has given the green light to the performance car project. It will be a twin under the skin to a special edition all-wheel-drive Audi S1, with which VW will share development costs.
VW confirmed the plans for a Polo R at its annual GTI festival in Germany over the weekend, unveiling a World Rally show car.
No technical details have been released, however well placed sources told UK magazine What Car? the Polo R would most likely be powered by the 155kW turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the Golf GTI.
This would give the Polo R the necessary grunt to handle the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system – and provide the thrilling acceleration expected of a Volkswagen R car.
Importantly, VW will leave a small performance gap to the flagship Golf R which has a 188kW version of the same turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.
The Polo R is not yet confirmed for Australia but Volkswagen is working on the business case.
“[The Polo R] is confirmed for production and it’s a model that’s of interest to us,” says Volkswagen Australia spokesman Karl Gehling. “However we are yet to confirm if it will come to Australia.”
If the Polo R does make it way Down Under (a likely scenario given 25 per cent of all Polo and Golf sales are of the GTI hot hatch versions) buyers will be spoiled for choice: the Polo R is estimated to be priced close to the Golf GTI at about $40,000.
The price of a three-door Polo GTI is $27,790 (plus on-road costs) and a Golf R starts at $49,990.