Volkswagen is in the volume-selling game, and simply put, it can a sell more Polo GTIs (and Golfs) with dual clutch automatics (dubbed Direct Shift Gearbox, or DSG, by the maker) than manual-only versions. Renault has followed suit with its new-generation Clio RS for the same reason.
But the move away from the traditional manual gearbox to a quick-shifting dual-clutch actually helps the Polo GTI’s performance. It’s the quickest car in its class, able to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 6.9 seconds.
Rival hatches such as Mini Cooper S, Opel OPC Corsa and the all-new Clio RS all need 7.2 seconds to hit the 100km/h mark.
The Polo GTI’s relatively meagre 1.4-litre displacement makes it the smallest engine in the class, with the above-mentioned competitors utilising 1.6-litre engines. This seeming discrepancy is allayed by the Polo GTI’s use of forced induction – multiplied by two.
With the help of both a supercharger (which boosts the engine up to 3000rpm) and a turbocharger (that takes the reigns from thereafter), along with direct injection, the Polo GTI sends an impressive 132kW of power and 250Nm of torque (the latter delivered from 2000 to 4500rpm) to the front wheels.
It’s frugal too, with a fuel consumption reading of just 6.1-litres/100km over a several hundred-kilometre stint behind the wheel – courtesy of its seven-speed DSG.
However, it’s worth mentioning that careful use of the throttle is required when pulling out of busy intersections to avoid front wheel-spin and mild torque steer, even in the dry.
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013