What is it?
The most powerful road going Volkswagen Polo ever – the limited edition R WRC.
As its name suggests, the Polo R WRC has been created to homologate the German car maker’s Polo-based World Rally Championship contender, which has already racked up five victories this year at the hands of Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala.
As specified by FIA regulations, 2500 examples of the new three door-only hot hatch are planned to be assembled alongside more sedate Polo models at Volkswagen’s Navarra plant in Spain, with orders already totaling 600 — even before the first customer deliveries.
Similarities between the road car and competition machine are few. Still, there’s enough here to suggest the Polo R WRC could mount a serious challenge to the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, Renault Clio RS and Peugeot 208 GTi.
Power for the hottest production Polo yet comes courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-litre version of the Volkswagen Group’s EA113 four-cylinder direct-injection engine – essentially the same unit used in the last generation Golf GTi. It produces 217bhp on a band of revs stretching from 4500rpm to 6300rpm and 258lb ft of torque on tap between 2500 and 4400rpm – all of which is channelled through a standard six-speed manual gearbox.
This provides the Polo R WRC with 40bhp and 74lb ft more than the existing Polo GTI whose turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct-injection petrol unit from Volkswagen’s EA211 engine family, delivers 177bhp and 184lb ft. It also packs 20bhp and 43lb ft more than the turbocharged 1.6-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine that powers the Fiesta ST-2.
Despite the ramp up in reserves, Volkswagen has resisted the temptation to provide the Polo R WRC with a Haldex-style multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system. Such an arrangement has been developed by daughter company Audi for the limited-volume S1 Quattro – a car which shares its Volkswagen Group PQ25 platform structure with the Polo. But it retains front-wheel drive in the interests of weight saving, development costs and pricing.