What is it?
This GTI version of the new Polo is the latest in a line of fast Polos that began with the 1991 G40; though none of which to date has quite hit the mark in the same way that most Golf GTIs have.
It arrives a short time after the Seat Ibiza Cupra, and at the same time as the Skoda Fabia vRS, poignant not just because all three are based on the same platform, but because all three also use precisely the same powertrain - a 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged TSI petrol engine, mated to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox as standard. There’s no manual option on any of them.
Compared to the Skoda and Seat, the Volkswagen demands a premium price: as I write it’s the wrong side of £18,000. In fact, it’s not just more expensive than its VW-group siblings, it’s also more expensive than the standout car in this class – the Renaultsport Clio 200.
What’s it like?
We’re fans generally of the Polo at Autocar. It’s a refined and well-sorted car with a fine interior.
So if there is a supermini that can justify an £18,000 plus price tag, the Polo may be it – certainly, the GTI feels very well appointed and equipment levels are strong. As I write I haven’t driven the latest Fabia vRS but, certainly, the Polo is a class above the Ibiza Cupra inside.
On pure driving grounds, we’d say not, when there’s more fun to be had for less money elsewhere.
But there are people – you and I might not be them – for whom driving dynamics do not define a hot hatchback; for whom a pleasing interior and mini-Golf looks are more important; and who will never drive at more than four- or five-tenths, if that.
In which case, the Polo GTI isn’t a shabby choice. It’s not a bad car. Far from it. I just think it’d be more appropriate if the ‘I’ was knocked off the end of its name tag.