2021 Volkswagen Polo GTI revealed – Ford Fiesta ST rival gets a makeover

Volkswagen has given its range-topping Polo GTI supermini a refresh for 2021

The sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo received an overhaul earlier this year, providing an updated design inside and out alongside an upgrade in interior tech. Naturally, following a string of teasers and test mule sightings, the range-topping GTI has now been given similar treatment with a mild performance boost coming as part of the update. Pricing is yet to be announced but the first cars will hit UK roads in early 2022.

As expected, the same 2-litre turbocharged EA888 four-cylinder as before is what you’ll find under the bonnet, now sending 204bhp and a healthy 236lb ft of torque to the front wheels – that’s a mild 7bhp bump over the outgoing car with torque remaining identical. These figures put the Polo GTI marginally ahead of the 201bhp Hyundai i20 N and 200bhp Ford Fiesta ST-3.

> Hyundai i20 N 2021 review – hot supermini zeros in on the Ford Fiesta ST

Despite what seems like a small gain in output, 0-62mph now comes two tenths sooner than before at 6.5sec, matching the manual-only Fiesta ST-3. Top speed is quoted at 149mph. As before, the Polo GTI is available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and it also gets the same XDS electronic differential as the outgoing car.

Option the Sport Select package and you receive adaptive damping, larger front axle stabilisers, uprated front coupling rods and stiffer axle mounting points at the rear. This package also lowers ride height by an additional 15mm for a more aggressive stance.

The exterior design remains familiar, but elements such as the new front bumper take inspiration from the Mk8 Golf GTI and the ID electric car range to bring the hot Polo in-line with the rest of Volkswagen’s lineup. New honeycomb-pattern grilles, trademark GTI red highlights, a 15mm drop in ride height and red brake calipers also set it apart from an ordinary Polo model. 17-inch wheels are standard fit but at a cost, buyers can opt for 18-inch items.

New for 2021 is standard IQ.Light LED lighting, bringing a sharpened lighting signature, a striking new front lightbar and front and rear dynamic indicators to the model. Inside, the brand’s uprated 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit also comes as standard alongside an 8-inch infotainment display – a larger 9.2-inch unit can be equipped at a cost.

Alongside the flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, the GTI receives ‘Premium sports seats’ complete with the iconic ‘Clark Plaid’ fabric and red contrasting stitching. The dashboard trim also comes in a striking gloss Kings Red finish as standard with a more subtle ‘Deep Iron’ shade on the options list.

Pricing is still under wraps, but expect the Polo GTI to exceed the £21,660 price tag of the current model, moving closer to the near-£25,000 i20 N and Fiesta ST-3. First examples are set to hit the road in early 2022.

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