What is it?
This is the first Polo to be equipped with VW’s optional seven-speed DSG gearbox, which is currently only available when mated to the 84bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine. This is also the most powerful petrol in the Polo range until the turbocharged 1.2 TSI and 1.4-powered GTI arrive next year.
The seven-speed ‘box uses a pair of dry clutches, which don’t require any cooling. Its compact (weighing 79kg and measuring 369mm in length) and it uses 75 per cent less oil than the wet clutches of the six-speed DSG ‘box. At present, the seven-speed ‘box can only be used on cars with a maximum torque output of 184lb ft (the test car’s is 97lb ft) compared to the 258lb ft the six-speeder can handle.
The inclusion of DSG in our test car boosts combined fuel economy from 47.9mpg to 48.7mpg over the non DSG-equipped model, while CO2 emissions are also cut from 139g/km to 135g/km. VW has been able to improve these figures with the seven-speed DSG ‘box by lengthening the ratio of seventh gear, while first has been shortened to improve off the line acceleration.
What’s it like?
Fantastic. VW don’t try and hide the fact the car is heavily influenced by the sixth-generation Golf and it shows - this is a mature car that oozes quality.
This is best seen in the DSG ‘box. It can be placed in either standard auto’ mode, a semi-auto’ mode, which allows the driver to change gear using the lever, (there are no wheel-mounted paddles) or sport mode.
The three modes all have their own distinct personalities, although the semi-auto’ mode is best left alone as the shift is counter intuitive – you push forward to change up and pull back to change down. This means gear changes require extra thought, which shouldn’t be needed and it’s therefore best to leave the DSG to its own devices.
Standard auto’ mode is perfect for everyday driving, be it in town or on the motorway. It responds well to gentle inputs on the throttle and both up and down shifts are carried out unnoticed. The seventh speed is welcome on the motorway and it drops the engine revs considerably to make cruising at speed a relaxed and quiet experience.