Skip advert
Advertisement

Volkswagen Polo GTI review - minature GTI has the power but can it deliver fun? - Engine and gearbox

Capable rather than captivating

Evo rating
Price
from £19,235
  • VW build quality, GTI detailing
  • Doesn’t live up to the GTI name

Engine and gearbox

The previous generation Polo GTI was only available with a DSG gearbox, and when paired with the 1.4-litre twincharged TSI engine it was far from an inspiring hot hatch package.

For the new Polo GTI VW has ditched the smaller engine, instead opting for a downsized version of the 2-litre unit found in the Golf GTI and R and the Polo GTI’s close rival Audi’s S1. The result is a grown up sounding engine but one that ultimately lacks the punch expected of it. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

> Click here to read our review of the Audi S1

With 189bhp on offer the Polo GTI’s new engine is on par with its rivals, such as the Fiesta ST, but that is where the similarities end. Where the Ford is full of effervescence the VW engine feels flat with no genuine enthusiasm to be revved or driven hard like the most exciting of hot hatches do.   

The Polo GTI’s new engine does rev smoothly and cleanly however, the throttle response is crisp and sharp, and encourages heel and toe downshifts, responding with an enthusiastic flare of revs with every blip of the throttle. But that’s where the excitement ends. 

Unlike its predecessor, the new Polo GTI can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, with a seven-speed DSG now a cost option as opposed to being your only choice. The manual ‘box is nice to use with a clean shift around the gate, but the ratios don’t feel perfectly matched to the engine mapping, with the first two gears too short, third to fifth pretty much spot on and sixth almost an overdrive gear. It can make for frustrating progress on tight and technical B roads, with second often too short a gear and third too long to deliver the punch you expect out of slower turns.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

BMW M340i xDrive Touring Fast Fleet test – 6000 miles in the six-cylinder estate
evo Fast Fleet BMW M340i xDrive Touring
Long term tests

BMW M340i xDrive Touring Fast Fleet test – 6000 miles in the six-cylinder estate

The six-cylinder M Performance estate departs the evo Fast Fleet, confirming a renaissance for the everyday BMW
20 May 2024
The Lamborghini Huracán replacement will get a 10,000rpm flat-plane crank V8 
Lamborghini V8 to replace V10
News

The Lamborghini Huracán replacement will get a 10,000rpm flat-plane crank V8 

The iconic Lamborghini V10 is no more, but its upcoming eight-cylinder successor will pack hybrid drive and a 10,000rpm redline
20 May 2024
Toyota GR Supra Fast Fleet test – 11 months in Japan's Porsche Cayman
evo Fast Fleet Toyota Supra
Long term tests

Toyota GR Supra Fast Fleet test – 11 months in Japan's Porsche Cayman

With a 335bhp straight-six and rear-wheel drive, the Supra should be very much our sort of car. But after nearly a year on our fleet, did this prove t…
17 May 2024