Greetings to us, the brisk seventies. A red stripe on the radiator grille, well-shaped sports seats with checked covers in the cockpit. Like when the abbreviation GTI started its great career at VW. Noticeably inconspicuous a uto motor und sport called it under the obvious heading 'Golf in Sheep's Clothing'.
Compressor and turbocharger ensure high performance
Little has changed - except that the latest GTI only appears in a polo shirt. Whereby you could 'only' save yourself, because the VW Polo is bigger than the GTI original from 1976. As far as space, equipment and above all safety is concerned, there is incomparably more car on offer, for which the weight of 1,240 instead of 875 kilograms at the time can be taken as evidence. More juice under the bonnet anyway. The VW Polo GTI now has 180 hp, and it comes from an elaborately designed high-tech engine. It has less displacement than the 1.6-liter ancestor, but it has a compressor and a turbo. The mechanical supercharger bulges the torque curve up to 250 Newton meters in the lower speed range. From 3,500 rpm, it hands over the work in the test car to the exhaust gas turbine, with the help of which a specific output of an impressive 130 hp /liter is achieved.
The king on winding country roads
So the best of two worlds? As for the performance of the test car, you can see it that way. The sharp VW Polo GTI proves it on the test track. Because it is scorching hot, he does not manage the factory's acceleration specification (6.9 seconds from zero to 100 km /h), but leaves it at 7.4 seconds. In the early days of the VW Polo GTI, however, he would have shown a Porsche 911 the exhaust with these values. There is no lack of steam in our performance-spoiled times. The VW Polo GTI is king, especially on winding country roads, to which the excellently tuned chassis naturally contributes. A crisp, precise steering is paired in the test with a very high lateral acceleration potential and pronounced good-naturedness. The standard XDS, which Volkswagen calls the electronic limited-slip differential, contributes to this.
A remarkable self-steering behavior for a front-wheel drive car
That is like calling a Swatch an electronic Rolex. Both show the time, but the technique is different. XDS has with theNothing to do on the differential, it means braking intervention on the inside front wheel of the VW Polo GTI. As a result, more torque flows to the more stressed colleague on the other side - the same effect as with a real limited-slip differential. It works anyway. No traction problems, plus a sure-footed neutrality of the self-steering behavior, which is remarkable for a front-wheel drive. In the test, in a sporty sense, it can be influenced with the accelerator pedal. Load changes are a popular component of driving pleasure, but never a critical one. There is the ESP, which gives the GTI-influenced driver the freedom they want, but puts a very energetic stop to great optimism.
There is no biting, spontaneous response to the gas
Enjoying the dynamism of driving is a key component of the VW Polo GTI character. With lightning revving up to 7,000 rpm, the powerful drive shows perfectly appropriate sporty quality. Only the biting, spontaneous response to the gas is missing from the double-charged engine. Because despite the high technical effort involved in charging, there is a tiny delay until the test vehicle is full of steam. The circumstances are not always such that one can use all one's strength with due responsibility. Of course, the VW Polo GTI doesn't care. During a relaxed stroll, which the engine masters with great sovereignty, the graceful four-cylinder pulls in the lower speed range like a larger displacement and allows driving in the top gears even at leisurely speeds.
Polo GTI approved 8.9 liters in test operation
Because the dual clutch transmission is standard in the VW Polo GTI, seven gear steps are available. One always fits, and because the transmission shifts so quickly and cleanly, manual preselection with the shift paddles is the most satisfying form of handling. There are two automatic modes for this. S works excellently when you drive fast on corners with intensive gears, but it becomes annoying when you roll along in traffic. Then you drive way too fast, which is of course completely uneconomical. Standard position D is better because it shifts up early and the engine's pulling power is used. This is the only way to get close to the standard consumption, which is a whopping 25 percent below that of the predecessor. VW calls sportiness of the sustainable kind 6.9 seconds and 5.9 liters. Alone - the two do not go together because there are no miracles in Wolfsburg either.
Anyone who drives the Polo GTI a lot in the loading area can end up in the double-digit range. In the naturally not consistently economical test operation, the result is 8.9 liters, which is very respectable for a sports sedan that can effortlessly accelerate to almost 230 km /h. It rounds off the picture of the youngest GTI offspring. The great-grandfather would say: great, what has become of the boy.