To some, the idea of a hot SUV will be anathema. But none of the naysayers is likely to work in the Volkswagen accounts department.
Global sales of fast VWs are hard to come by, but UK figures indicate just how important sales of the firm’s hot models can be, albeit in a market that traditionally outshines all others in its love of go-faster cars.
Last year, the Golf GTD, GTI, GTE and R sales topped just over 21,000 units — or 34% of all Golf sales. That’s a remarkable statistic given the enduring popularity of the standard Golf in the heart of the family hatch market. It’s notable, too, that significantly more R models were registered than GTIs, even when you add in the Edition 40 and Clubsport S specials, with just over 4800 R registrations, topping GTI sales by around 15%. A combination of great reviews, keen finance deals and a pervading mentality that appears to conclude that if you are buying a hot hatch, you may as well buy the fastest one going if it only costs a fraction more, seems to be winning out.
Nor is this trend exclusive to the Golf, the most iconic GTI of them all. Last year Polo GTI sales topped 3600 cars, or around 7% of all Polo sales, which is a remarkably high proportion for what is — again — a high-volume car in its base form.
Little wonder that the next-gen Polo GTI will arrive shortly after the mainstream car is launched later this year, likely with a 200bhp 2.0-litre engine, choice of manual or DSG ’box and adaptive suspension, or that it will be joined by the fast T-Roc and, next year, the Up GTI that we have already driven.
Fast VWs aren’t just halo cars that lure in dreamers to buy cooking models; they are big sellers in their own right, with healthier than average profit margins to boot.