Full Throttle

Road Test and Review: Volkswagen Polo GT 1.2 TSI

Full Throttle

Road Test and Review: Volkswagen Polo GT 1.2 TSI

This one’s for the enthusiasts. If you wonder how on earth a 1.2 litre engine is going to impress an enthusiast, digest this: the new Polo GT is powered by a turbo-charged direct injection TSI petrol engine that develops a mighty 105PS and 174 Nm of torque, offering better performance than the discontinued 1.6 litre Polo. Those who cribbed about the Polo 1.2 being underpowered and the 1.6 being defunct would both find solace in the new Polo TSI.

Design

We love the Polo for its classic, sober design and there are not many changes that make the new Polo different from its predecessor. However, on the exterior, the new Polo TSI gets headlamps with black finish, GT badging on the front grille, new alloy wheels and GT TSI badging on the boot lid as well as the C pillar.

The interior gets a more serious makeover that reflects the car’s sportiness. Seats get a new black and grey fabric combination and are supportive, too. The steering wheel, gearshift knob and the handbrake lever are leather-wrapped and foot pedals get aluminum finish.

The new Polo TSI also gets climate control and 2 Din music system inherited from the Vento. Overall interior plastic quality is impressive.

Polo’s cramped rear legroom has been a known issue and Volkswagen has slightly addressed it by chiseling up the front seats, however, that doesn’t mean you get ample legroom in the new Polo.

Performance

Alright, let’s cut to the chase, the new Polo is all about absolute performance and you already know that from the figures.  174 Nm of torque is a remarkable output for a car of this size; even sweeter is the fact that the peak torque is available from as low as 1500 rpm and all the way to 4100 rpm.  Since the superior performance is achieved with the help of a turbocharger, there’s an inevitable lag but the clever ratios of the DSG gearbox masks it well.

Speaking of the 7 speed DSG automatic gearbox, it deserves special mention for milking the best out of the TSI while maximizing fuel efficiency. Volkswagen claims an ARAI certified mileage of 17.2 kmpl, but during the performance test the figure was hovering around 12-14 kmpl. Well, I wouldn’t say that’s too bad for a performance car.

The Polo TSI can sprint from 1-100 kmph in 9.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 190 kmph -- certainly faster than the 1.6 Polo. The DSG box offers three driving modes – ‘D’, ‘S’ and manual. In the ‘D’ mode, the DSG upshifts earlier and ensures better fuel efficiency while the Sport mode holds on to the gear till the rev limit before shifting. Manual shifting is lever-actuated and I missed paddle shifters big time when looking for some engine braking and a quick burst of power thereafter. Also, that’s when I wondered if the DSG was slightly confused.

The suspension is strong enough to complement the performance; it handles tightly around corners but doesn’t shake your teeth out on a rough patch.

In short, the new Polo GT TSI packs a fair punch and has enough substance to blow your mind. My only disappointment is that it comes only with the top trim level, which makes it a very expensive option.

In a diesel-crazy nation, there still exist many petrol-loyalists who seek pure performance and this one’s for them.

The new Volkswagen Polo GT 1.2 TSI is available in only one trim level and is priced at Rs 7.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)

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