Volkswagen Polo GTI returns for 2021 with new look, 204bhp

Volkswagen has revealed the updated Polo GTI, which will feature technology and styling influenced by the larger Golf, but retains its 204bhp turbocharged petrol engine. 

The GTI will return as the flagship of the Polo line-up, with design inspiration drawn from the eighth-generation Golf extending to a new front end, complete with the brand’s new light bar signature, and a revamped rear.

As with the previous GTI, the front-wheel-drive Polo will be driven by Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox; as yet, there is no word on the long-rumoured manual gearbox option for the Ford Fiesta ST rival. 

Torque is pegged at 236lb ft at 1500-4500rpm, which helps make the GTI capable of hitting 0-62mph in 6.5sec. 

The GTI gains an updated exterior design, with ‘IQ Light’ LED matrix headlights as standard to accompany the full-width front light bar. The firm says the light bar “creates a style connection to the battery-electric ID models from Volkswagen and to the new vehicle generation of successful models like the Golf, Arteon and Tiguan”.

A new bumper design refreshes the rear end, while standard 17in alloy wheels are available in a new design based on that used by the Golf. The Polo GTI also receives dynamic turn signals for the first time.

In terms of equipment, the GTI is based on the standard Polo’s Life trim, which brings an 8.0in central infotainment screen as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality integrated. The red interior trim seen on the previous model returns to mark out the hot hatch.

The firm’s Discover Pro and Discover Media systems are optional, and the car also receives Volkswagen’s new ‘digital cockpit’ dashboard set-up, as used by the Golf and ID 3. Other options include a panoramic sunroof, voice control, wireless charging, a Beats sound system and 18in alloy wheels. 

Three driving modes are available: Eco, Normal and Sport, with the latter offering an enhanced exhaust note. The Polo GTI is also equipped with a bespoke, performance-oriented chassis tune, lowering the body by 15mm compared with the standard Polo and adding a large stabiliser on the car’s front axle, rigid coupling rods at the front and stiffer axle locating mounts at the rear.

The Polo also benefits from Volkswagen’s Travel Assist system for the first time, including adaptive cruise control, lane assist, side assist and rear traffic alert. Autonomous emergency braking is also standard, as is a driver alert system and automatic post-collision braking. 

Volkswagen has yet to reveal pricing for the new Polo GTI, with more information set to emerge in the coming months.


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