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Polo R set to rocket

The white Line: Although a hot Polo R is still at least a year away, Volkswagen presented this more cosmetic R-Line package at the Frankfurt show, as well as a WRC homologation special.

WRC special heralds fastest baby VW in history

14 Sep 2011

VOLKSWAGEN is set to release a scorching version of its popular Polo light car after all.

The off-again/on-again Polo R is now more likely than ever as a result of the necessary homologation and associated engineering work required for the World Rally Championship version, first announced in May this year and publically displayed at Frankfurt this week ahead of its 2013 competition debut.

Although speculation of an R high-performance edition has been rife since the announcement of the GTI model last year, nobody at Volkswagen AG would confirm or deny that the company is preparing the most powerful Polo ever produced.

Even if the rumour mill is correct and it does have the green light, do not expect to see anything before the latter part of next year at the earliest.

In the meantime, Volkswagen has whetted our appetites by revealing a new Polo R-Line model at this week’s Frankfurt show.

It extends VW’s R-line family of cars (Golf, Scirocco, Passat CC and Touareg) to Polo for the first time.

3 center imageFrom top: VW Polo WRC, Up GT concept, Beetle R concept.

Essentially an exterior and interior package for the European market – not the sporty mechanical package associated with the full R models sold in Australia such as the Golf R – the Polo R-Line can be ordered with nearly any standard engine variant and will be on the market from the end of this year.

Exterior enhancements include 16-inch alloys (although the show car rode on 17-inch alloys), a high-gloss black radiator grille, revised front bumper with fog lights, daytime-running lights, a diffuser built into the rear bumper, chrome tailpipes, a roof-edge rear spoiler and side sills.

Inside, the Polo R-Line gets the GTI’s sport seats, upholstered with high-end fabric or optional Alcantara/leather, embroidered headrests, black roof liner, leather steering wheel with aluminium details, high-gloss black accents, aluminium-look pedal caps and door sill plates with the R-Line signature.

However, the long-awaited Polo R hot hatch is likely to gain a Haldex four-wheel drive system, which the closely related Audi A1 will reportedly offer with the upcoming S1 sports flagship due next year.

Whether the 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo four-cylinder petrol engine required for the rally car translates into the production Polo R is unknown. In the Polo R WRC car shown in Frankfurt, the 1.6 TSI delivers 225kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Polo R transmission choices are likely to be a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch auto.

While the Polo R WRC car’s blistered wheel arches and aggressive body kit will not be part of the production car’s visual repertoire, a toned-down version is likely to link the competition vehicle with the one at your Volkswagen dealership.

With “Polo R” emblazoned in large script in the same style as the other R vehicles in Volkswagen’s line-up, the Germans appear keen to project the potential of the sports sub-brand for its lauded supermini.

Having also presented at Frankfurt a Beetle R Concept and a sporty variation of the all-new Up badged the GT, it is clear that Volkswagen is keen to give its model range a dose of racy street cred.

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