Superchips Volkswagen Polo GTI review

Stephen Dobie
14 Mar 2012
Verdict:

Just £455 buys you a Superchips upgrade for your Volkswagen Polo GTI. 204bhp, 6.5sec to 60mph. Is it better to drive?

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
£455
For 
Gives the GTI a bit more fun and fizz
Against 
Reveals limitations of factory standard chassis

What is it?
 
A Superchips upgrade for the Volkswagen Polo GTI hot hatchback. It helps the little VW move towards the top of the small hot hatch class in terms of power output, and costs £455.
 
Technical highlights?
 
Superchips’ remap boosts the Polo’s peak power to just 3bhp shy of a Golf GTI’s – 204bhp at 6500rpm (from 178bhp at 6200rpm) – while torque is up to 194lb ft at 3475rpm (from 184lb ft at 2000rpm). You need to take the car to a Superchips outlet to have the remap set up, but after that you can use the supplied Bluefin device to remove and re-install the new map when required.
 
What’s it like to drive?
 
There’s a polished, factory feel to the upgrade, and it certainly makes the Polo a more interesting car to drive. It’s always been a brisk and reasonably fun hatch, but lacking excitement next to more raucous rivals. With Superchips yielding a noticeable burst of extra power at the upper reaches of the GTI’s rev range, you’ll be far more inclined to hang onto the DSG gearbox’s seven speeds rather than relying on the twin-charged engine’s abundant mid-range torque to hustle you along.
 
The negatives come from the Polo’s chassis. In standard 178bhp form it can struggle for grip, facing frequent battles with understeer and wheelspin; an extra 26bhp only serves to exaggerate both issues, while also introducing mild torque steer under hard acceleration, a problem the regular GTI doesn’t really encounter. None of this is Superchips’ fault, but liberating the extra power and torque does inadvertently shine a light on the hot Polo’s dynamic shortcomings.
 
How does it compare?
 
All told, though, an extra £455 to inject some polished extra potency into the wee GTI is good value. If you drive a hot Polo (or one of its SEAT or Skoda cousins), we recommend you give Superchips’ car a try.
 
Anything else I need to know?
 
If you’re willing to spend more cash, those dynamic bugbears are nothing a bit of suspension work and some stickier tyres couldn’t address. With sales of the smallest GTI remaining modest (just 1.3 per cent of Polos in the UK), it’d make for a rare and very classy little performance car.

Specifications

Engine In-line 4-cyl, 1390cc, twin-charger
Max power 204bhp @ 6500rpm
Max torque 194lb ft @ 3475rpm
0-60 6.5sec (est)
Top speed 145mph (est)
On sale Now

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