We didn't get on all that well with the previous Volkswagen Polo GTI.
It was worthy enough in a modest kind of way, but whereas its rivals made a punching bag of your adrenal gland, the Polo merely prodded at your reasoning, forever reminding you how economical and easy to live with it was.
At the heart of its rationale was the powertrain, a tedious combination of DSG auto and twin turbocharged TSI that was its biggest fault, it being about as brawny and thrilling to tussle with as a knackered budgerigar.
Consequently, the best thing about the new version is its wholesale replacement. You can still have a DSG as an option, but we urge you not to. Stick with the standard six-speed manual, which is what we drive here.
Attached to the new ’box is an all-new turbocharged four-pot lump. Better still (and rather unconventionally) it gets larger, at 1.8 litres and is a variant of the EA888 engine lineup, which, in other breathed-on formats, fills out the engine bay of the marvelous Mk6 Golf R. In Volkswagen Polo guise it cranks out 189bhp from 4200rpm, and 236lb ft of peak twist from just 1450rpm.
VW has had a go at the chassis, too; stiffening up the anti-roll bars and reassessing the settings on a suspension that has the Polo’s ride height dipping by 10mm at the front and 15mm at the back. Looks-wise, the morph into shrink-wrapped Golf GTI is almost complete. It’s as chunky as pool cue chalk, with only the reduced track width really giving the game away.