ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE NEW VW POLO GTI
Earlier this year Volkswagen presented the sixth generation of Polo and now comes the sporty version: the GTI; spearheading the range in terms of performance, technology and sportiness. Beneath the bonnet is a powerful TSI engine mated to a sports chassis, tailored specifically to this model to transform the best-selling compact car into a dynamic, four-door sports car, which also allows semi-automated driving as an option for the first time in this Volkswagen. Like all its predecessors, the new model is also front-wheel drive and the turbo-charged, direct petrol injected unit changes gear via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG), which comes as standard. Among the highlights of the turbo engine are such features as a dual injection system with combined direct and intake-manifold fuel injection, an engine control unit with four core processors, and an electronic valve-lift system on the inlet side. Despite the high output, the engine is impressively efficient with moderate fuel consumption levels.
The sports chassis, tailored specially to the car, as standard. It lowers the chassis by 15 millimetres and guarantees the typical GTI synthesis of driving dynamics, safe neutrality and a high degree of driving comfort. The most striking visual change to the rear of the new model is the newly-designed LED rear lights with animated brake light and integrated dynamic indicators, which indicate a change in direction with flowing light movements.
Moving to the sports themed interior and black, red, grey with chrome are the dominant colours. A host of the latest generation of assistance systems guarantee even greater comfort and safety for all passengers. In the world of cars, there are three letters that have had a magic sound to them for approaching five decades now – GTI.
Since the original GTI in 1976, Volkswagen has ensured that this code is synonymous with outstanding driving pleasure in the compact segment and the Polo has borne the acronym GTI since 1998, in fact the third model to do so, after the Golf and the Scirocco. The latest generation seamlessly continues the illustrious GTI tradition and sets new benchmarks for compact cars and the technical basis for this is provided by Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB). Across all the model lines, MQB stands for technological progress, high body rigidity, an exemplary low weight, and very good crash properties. IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist is used for the first time in a Polo GTI which enables semi-automated driving. The system can take over the steering, braking and accelerating of the new model from 0 km/h to the control limit of Travel Assist (210 kph). For longitudinal guidance, IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist calls upon familiar systems like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Latitudinal guidance is supported by Lane Assist, which comes as standard. You can activate the system via the Travel Assist button in the redesigned, multifunctional, leather sports steering wheel; however your hands must remain on the steering wheel whilst using this system, meaning the driver is always responsible for the car. There are a number of new infotainment systems (the latest generation of MIB3.1), which are connected to various services online, ensure state-of-the-art connectivity. An Online Connectivity Unit (OCU) with integrated eSIM makes it possible to use online services from We Connect (prepared for a limited time) and We Connect Plus (prepared for free use in Europe for one or three years). Features like natural voice control, access to streaming services and a cloud-based personalisation using “Volkswagen ID” enhance the latest MIB3.1 system, depending on the equipment line. The integration of such apps as App-Connect Wireless for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now wireless. Just as in the Polo, instruments and the infotainment system are arranged on a visual axis, ensuring they can be viewed and operated easily in any driving situation. The Digital Cockpit Pro impresses with a higher pixel density, an improved contrast ratio and intense colours, as well as it sheer size and the screen measures 10.25 inches or 26 centimetres diagonally.