Performance is synonymous to both the VW Polo GT TDI and TSI. So, in their face-lifted avatars, are they still worth shelling out the extra cash?
The Volkswagen Polo is a rare breed, as it’s one of the few compact cars that come close to being called a hot hatch. Sure, there are other cars that handle better, like the Ford Figo, Maruti Suzuki Swift, and even the new Hyundai Elite i20, but as a total package, none comes close to the Polo – especially the GT twins. Pound for pound, no other car in the class pumps your adrenaline like the GT twins do.
After the launch of the new Polo 1.5 litre diesel, it was inevitable that the minor exterior and interior tweaks would be carried over to the GT range. But, to ensure that they don’t lose their sporty nature, the GT’s come with all black interiors, while the regular Polo’s come in beige. Like their predecessors, these new hatchbacks also show off GT badges on the front grille and tailgate, as well as GT stickers on the C-pillar. To bring out its sporty DNA, the German automaker has added black side-view mirrors and a subtle, yet visible (again black), roof spoiler.
The cabin also receives a minor revamp, in the form of the smart looking three-spoke flat bottom steering wheel. The centre console now gets some silver inserts, and the foot-well is livened up by a set of aluminium pedals. Also, the doorstep garnish now sports the GT name.
The GT Polos’ are more about performance than appearance though, and so Volkswagen has left the TSI version untouched. The firecracker 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine has 103bhp under the hood, and its partner in crime – the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission – ensures that it’s a free revving machine, which will keep you smiling every time you get behind the wheel. This gem of an engine’s trump card is that torque peaks as early as 1,500rpm, while the DSG’s perfectly set gear ratios reduce lag to manageable levels.
The TSI is all about power delivery, and ‘S’ and ‘Manual’ modes make it a breeze to extract every ounce of power since the rev needle is more than willing to race all the way to the redline. There is, of course, ‘D’ as well, which is basically frugal commuter mode – well, as frugal as this motor gets anyway.
If you want frugal as well as performance, look at the GT TDI. It matches the TSI in terms of power, with 103bhp, but has more torque lower down in the rev range. The GT TDI variant has 14bhp more than the stock Polo, and the extra pulling power is evident from the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed. Unlike its petrol sibling, the TDI is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, which is slick and precise. Though this powerplant replaces the bigger 1.6-litre engine, the power output of the two cars is identical. It has a strong mid-range, but it tends to fizzle out around the 5,000rpm mark.
Both the GTs get the same suspension set up as the regular Polo, which is slightly on the softer side but still feels pretty solid going down the road. The TDI’s front suspension is naturally more tightly sprung than the TSI due to its heavier engine.
The GT TSI remains in a different league altogether, and is a must buy for all thrill-seeking enthusiasts. The DSG transmission and the 1.2 turbocharged engine is a match made in heaven – and, at 7.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s surely for keeps. The TDI, on the other hand, does raise a valid question – is it worth shelling out the extra dough when the stock Polo is a very capable car? Well, if you consider the additional horses and the bling GT badges, then the extra 60,000 seems like a bargain.
But if you want a real hot hatch, go and convince your local VW dealer that there are enough like you who would be willing to shell out far more for a Polo GTI with a 1.8 litre petrol engine and 189 horses. Now that’s a true hot hatch!
- VW Polo GT TDI
- VW Polo GT TSI
Engine: 1,498cc / 4 cylinders / Turbo direct injection
Transmission: 5-speed manual / Front-wheel drive
Power: 103bhp @ 4,400rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 1,500 - 2,500rpm
Price: Rs. 7.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Engine: 1,197cc / 4 cylinders / DOHC / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed automatic / Front-wheel drive
Power: 103bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 175Nm @ 1,500 - 4,100rpm
Price: Rs. 7.99 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi)