VW’s new-look WR Car is to be renamed in a bid to forge a closer connection with the big-selling Polo road car
4 October 2016

Volkswagen plans to rename its Polo R WRC contender as the Polo GTi in an effort to provide a closer connection between its premier motorsport engagement and its second-best-selling model line, according to an official with close ties to the German car maker’s chairman, Herbert Diess.

Read more: Volkswagen quits World Rally Championship at the end of 2016

The renaming, to made public at an official unveiling of Volkswagen’s new 2017 Polo-based World Rally Championship contender scheduled for later this month, adds emphasis to a successor model to today’s second-generation Polo GTi currently under development at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Set to crown the upcoming sixth-generation Polo line-up, the new front-wheel-drive performance hatchback is planned to go on sale in the UK in early 2018 featuring a more powerful engine than the 189bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol unit used by today’s model.

Earlier plans for the introduction of a four-wheel-drive Polo R hinted at by a prototype driven by Autocar in 2014 have been cancelled as part of a wide-ranging cost cutting program instigated in the aftermath of the dieselgate diesel emission manipulation affair, leaving the four-wheel drive Polo R WRC and its name without a direct connection to a series production Polo.

In 2012, Volkswagen celebrated its entry in the world rally championship with the unveiling of the limited-edition Polo R WRC Street. The front-wheel-drive hatchback, of which just 2500 were built between September 2013 and March 2014, featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine delivering 217bhp.

A new generation of WRC machines will compete in the 2017 championship, with the VW Polo GTi going up against the Citroën C3, M-Sport Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Toyota Yaris rally cars.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo GTI
New Polo GTI is powered by a 189bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor

A new engine and gearbox make for a much improved small GTI - but is it a match for some stellar rivals?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic