Power for the new Polo GTI comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit with peak output of 197bhp and 236lb ft. The previous Polo GTI made 190bhp from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit.
Peak torque is developed with a flat curve between 1500rpm and 6000rpm and is understood to deliver a solid surge of performance in the mid-range.
A six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox will be standard at launch, with a six-speed manual becoming an option in 2018.
“It was a really hard decision between the DSG and manual, but the market is deciding and performance models are trending to DSG,” said Kölling.
Top speed is a claimed 147mph and 0-62mph in 6.7sec – very similar to the previous-generation Polo GTI. Bigger brake rotors — 312mm diameter at the front and 270mm at the rear — boost stopping power compared with the standard Polo.
The basis for the new Polo GTi is a much stiffer five-door body based off VW’s ubiquitous MQB platform and with a torsional rigidity of 18k NM/deg. The old Polo rated 14k NM/deg, 28 per cent less.
The Polo GTi also features electro-mechanical steering and an XDS differential lock, which uses the traction control system to limit wheelspin.
Other chassis refinements include standard sport suspension with a 15mm reduced ride height, stiffer solid front and rear anti-roll bars of 21mm diameter and uprated springs and dampers.