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Super Volkswagen Polo R awaits

Polo ponies: Volkswagen's Polo GTI might end up being eclipsed by a turbo R version.

VW isn’t saying but a Polo R firecracker is in the wings to crush Clio RS 200 Cup

10 May 2010

VOLKSWAGEN will not stop at the upcoming GTI version of the just-released Mk5 Polo as its flagship a hot hatch.

Speculation is mounting that a flagship Polo R model is waiting in the wings, although the company is refusing to comment on its existence at this stage.

“At this point nothing has been decided at Volkswagen’s headquarters,” says managing director Anka Koeckler.

“But there are some rumours about. So far we have been very successful with our R strategy, and especially in Australia … we are looking at it but so far there has been no decision.” A concept version is believed to be in the making for a motor show debut before the end of 2010, with production set commence for 2011 or 2010, according to one overseas article.

Developed under Volkswagen’s in-house R GmbH of enhanced high-performance vehicles, the quickest production Polo to date is said to be already be done and dusted and awaiting a production green light from Wolfsburg HQ.

Aimed straight at the Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup as well as the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 Abarth, the Polo R would most likely retail for around $35,000. To take on the 148kW French car in particular, it is said to employ a new 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine delivering more than 150kW of power.

3 center image Left: Polo GTI. Below: Polo Worthersee concept vehicle.

It is rumoured that the Polo R will deviate from the larger Golf R by sticking with front-wheel drive, since Volkswagen’s PQ25 light-car architecture that also underpins Audi’s upcoming A1 as well as the latest Seat Ibiza, cannot accommodate the Haldex part-time AWD all-wheel drive gear.

This would put the light-car cracker in company with the lauded Scirocco R, which for reasons of weight saving also forfeits AWD.

So what’s the Polo R hold-up if everything is set to go? It is understood that Volkswagen is investigating how to market the super Polo with Golf GTI levels of performance without stepping on its highly successful cash cow’s toes.

But a company insider acknowledges that there is a sizeable niche above the current Polo GTI, which is retailing for $26,990 and uses a 110kW/220Nm 1.8-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual-only gearbox.

Its Mk5 Polo successor is due at the end of the year or in early 2011, and will probably nudge $30,000 owing to its increased performance and specification.

This includes a tuned version of the Golf 118TSI’s 1.4-litre TSI Twincharge turbocharged and supercharged direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine providing 132kW of power and 240Nm of torque, a new seven-speed twin-clutch DSG gearbox, as well as Volkswagen’s XDS electronic transverse differential lock (as seen on the latest Golf GTI), which is linked to the standard stability control system and is designed to improve handling and traction.

The 229km/h Polo GTI’s 6.9 second 0-100km/h sprint-time is already on a par with the existing Golf GTI thanks to the smaller car’s 200kg weight advantage, meaning that a Polo R’s bang for your buck would easily eclipse the Golf GTI’s outputs.

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