There may be a lot of attention surrounding Renault's booth at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, but let's not forget the humble Volkswagen Polo GTI. One of the underdogs of the hot hatch segment, the latest generation promises to be better than ever- based on the MQB platform that's being used for everything from the Polo to the Passat.
This time it gets a full-fat 2.0-litre TSI engine- a big jump from the previous generation's 1.4-litre TSI (and 1.8-litre TSI in some markets). This should be great news for tuners as the extra capacity offers a lot more breathing room (it's practically a Golf GTI engine). Power outputs from factory sit at 200 PS and 320 Nm of torque, which is nothing to sniff at for a compact hatchback.
The century sprint can be dispatched in just 6.7 seconds, or 0.2 seconds quicker than before. Initially the Polo GTI will be offered with a 6-speed DSG dual clutch transmission, but there is talk of offering a manual option later on (something that wasn't available with the previous generation).
Whether this model is torsion beam or multi link is yet to be seen- but it is most likely the former given the design of the regular Polo and the necessary distinction between Polo GTI and Golf GTI. In terms of chassis and dynamics, the Polo GTI isn't wildly different from the regular Polo.
There are stiffer springs and shocks courtesy of the Sport suspension, lowering the car by 15 millimetres, along with stiffer anti-roll bars and the added benefit of Volkswagen's XDS system (an electronic brake-based differential that mimics an LSD). The suspension, at least on the model shown in Frankfurt, does come with active adjustable suspension that can be stiffened up in sport mode.
Apart from all the external visual cues that this is a GTI model, such as the red accents, honeycomb grill, and GTI badging, it is the interior that sees the largest step up. There is a huge 10.25-inch Active Info Display digital dash sitting right in front of the driver, making this hot hatchback extra premium. No frills, this is not- and hopefully if this model comes to our market it will definitely shake things up in the compact hot hatchback segment.