Having started off with a 1.6-litre atmospheric petrol engine and then wavering between 1.8- and 1.4-litre turbo power over the years, the Polo GTI now literally has a bit of what makes its bigger brother, the Golf GTI, special.
Namely, VW’s ‘EA888’- type 2.0-litre turbo four, which powers the current Golf GTI (albeit in a higher state of tune) and which develops 197bhp and a particularly punchy-sounding 236lb ft.
That beats the latest Mini Cooper S for power and torque, and it’s got both a Ford Fiesta ST and a Renault Clio RS licked for outright mid-range pulling power too. Not a bad start.
The car is available in five-door form only; in front-wheel drive only; and, to begin with, with a six-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic gearbox only (a manual gearbox is joining the range later this year).
Further downstream in the drivetrain, where others in the class now offer proper mechanical limited-slip differentials, VW sticks with what it describes as an ‘XDS electronic differential lock’. Which, you’ve guessed it, isn’t a locking differential at all (although, confusingly, the one described as ‘XDS+’ on bigger VW Group hot hatchbacks is exactly that).