VW Polo Blue GT

5 Jul, 2012 5:30pm Sam Hardy

The Polo Blue GT combines strong performance with low emissions, thanks to cutting-edge engine technology

Verdict

4
Like stop-start, cylinder deactivation will soon become the norm on all cars. But for now it makes this sporty Polo a stand-out offering. Its 1.4 turbo is a great engine that combines strong pace with incredible efficiency. Add a stylish look inside and out, plus the quality we’ve come to expect from VW, and the Polo Blue GT ticks a lot of boxes.

It’s the sporty hatch with a conscience. The new VW Polo Blue GT aims to offer a spirited driving experience with low emissions and running costs that won’t break the bank – but has the pursuit of economy come at the expense of fun?
 
Marking the next step in the BlueMotion range, the Blue GT sits below the Polo GTI and features a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder engine. The clever bit is that it features cylinder deactivation, which shuts off two cylinders under light throttle loads to save fuel.

We’ve already seen this engine in the Audi A1, and the headline figures in the Blue GT are very impressive. As well as a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, the Polo claims economy of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 105g/km. That means road tax costs just £20 a year.

It also stands out on the road with a neat bodykit that borrows its front and rear bumpers, diffuser and roof spoiler from the Polo GTI, and mixes those with side sills from the Polo BlueMotion. A gloss black grille and door mirrors, 17-inch alloys and a ride height 15mm lower than the standard car complete the look.

Inside, there’s more inspiration from the Polo GTI, with instruments and a black roof lining from the hot hatch, along with bespoke GT sports seats and a leather flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The question is, does the Blue GT feel sporty to drive? This is a car with a dual character. Under a light throttle, and with the engine operating between 1,400rpm and 4,000rpm, it’s effectively running on just the first and the fourth cylinders. The switchover takes as little as 13 milliseconds, and other than a display on the dashboard, you barely notice the deactivation taking place. Listen really carefully and you can hear the faintest change in note on a light throttle, but that’s about it.
 
Flatten the throttle, and the engine offers lots of punch. Acceleration is rapid, and with 250Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm, it’s very flexible. A 
six-speed manual gearbox is available, but we tried the seven-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox. With a long top gear and a well spaced spread of ratios, plus 
slick changes in manual and automatic modes, it makes the most of the power available.

VW claims that the cylinder deactivation system covers 70 per cent of driving conditions under the EU driving cycle, so it’s working a lot of the time, and on our mixed test route we achieved well over 50mpg, which is about what you’d expect from a diesel. On a motorway cruise we saw over 70mpg, too. So is it all good news? Well, in corners the Blue GT doesn’t sparkle in the same way a Ford Fiesta Zetec S does. The steering is precise, there’s very little body roll and decent levels of grip, but at the same time it’s not very involving. It’s hugely competent and easy to drive fast, just not much fun.
 
Another negative is the price. VW estimates the range will kick off at £17,500 for a three-door manual car, which means this five-door DSG model will cost around £19,000. That’s about the same as a Polo GTI.

However, the idea of a warm hatchback which is sporty to look at, good to drive and as efficient as most diesels is very appealing indeed.

Disqus - noscript

VW has always deliberately kept the Polo as an under dog, for fear customers downgrade from the Golf which isnt surprising as its over priced and has worrying amounts of reliability complaints, The Polo (according to VW forums) with certain engines appears to have less complaints.

"we achieved well over 50mpg, which is about what you’d expect from a diesel. On a motorway cruise we saw over 70mpg too".

Whether this is just the Trip computer (always reads more) or the actual mpg just shows how VW have Killed their Diesels, Many VW Diesel owners would be overjoyed at this myself included and in theory you wont be wasting fuel on short journeys (DPFs renders Diesels useless now and the 1.2 TDi is a Joke, the 1.6TDi is Awful).

However just like the big sing song about "Bluemotion" I am very sceptical about the MPG figures VW claim.... They have been Liars in the Past and I struggle to believe them now.

Interesting to see a petrol engine that can match diesels for economy. I still prefer the torque that diesel engines offer, making them feel faster in real world situations.
As per the comment above - not sure how you can say the DPFs render diesels useless? My 118d has a DPF. It's definitely not a useless car. I did 22000 miles before the first service was needed, and regularly get 53mpg (56 according to the OBC).

Same goes for my DS3

I'm really impressed by this, it appears to offer a sublime combination of performance and economy. It also looks great and has a nice level of equipment. Would definitely consider buying one. Price is going to be the question, problems is the SEL and R-Line models are overpriced in the UK so this is going to be touching on the GTI as said in the article. An A1 with the same engine will probably offer better value.

Dpfs on VW engines are badly conceived and kill any chance of decent mpg, However BMW appear to have little effect on their Diesels... not sure about Peugeot/Citroen or the others.

I get between 62 and 64 mpg from my DS3 Hdi (91bhp) in mixed driving. Only 15,000 miles done so far. Not bad I think.

One feels VW suffer from a "not invented here" complex. For instance they had to develop their own diesel injection system rather than use common rail but were forced to use the latter in the end.

I thought the Audi A1 was overpriced, but this Polo is vastly over priced!

but not at this silly money.

19 bags for a Polo!
Personally I don't consider VW to be a premium brand so I can't justify why anyone would pay that money!
Having said the figures look impressive, and the cylinder de-activation technology seems like a good idea (if its reliable)
but for that money i'll have an A1 instead.

Hmmmmm..... imagine the efficiency of an 1.6L diesel engine with this cylinder de-activation tech combined with the centrifugal pendulum vibration absorber and dual mass flywheel from BMW "20d ED" models!!!! Prius eat your heart out

Hmmmmm..... imagine the efficiency of an 1.6L diesel engine with this cylinder de-activation tech combined with the centrifugal pendulum vibration absorber and dual mass flywheel from BMW "20d ED" models!!!! Prius eat your heart out

why dont they just put the 210bhp engine into it? much nicer looking car than the now bloated, too big, awkward looking golf, and i think it suits the ''GTI'' image much better, i bet the 3 door version would look very tasty indeed? how about it VW?

Don't see too many European based manufacturers coming up with advances in technology to allow us to continue to enjoy our driving. At least VW group, BMW, Mercedes, JLR are making money that allows them to invest in some research. Can't say the same about many others.

For 19k, I'd buy the faster, better, sexier Fabia vRS and have a damn good holiday abroad with the £2k change :)

My Golf SE TSI comes to the end of its company car lease soon and I'd be happy to swap it for one of these. Better economy, faster and I don't need the extra space of the Golf. Also, it's the first Polo to have the DSG box (essential for me) except the under-powered 1.4 SEL and the GTI

However, looking at the wheels, the lower suspension and taking into account it's a smaller car than the golf, I fear this may offer the archetypal bone-shaking ride from hell. I'll test drive it, but won't hold my breath.

Please Volkswagen and every other manufacturer can you make a small car with performance, economy and a comfortable ride. Why do all small cars seem to be aimed at boy racers or old farts? Just stick this engine in the Polo SE, drop the price and you've got a winner.

Key specs

  • Price: £19,000
  • Engine: 1.4-litre litre turbocharged four-cylinder, 138bhp
  • Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox, front-wheel drive
  • Top speed: 130mph
  • 0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
  • Econ: 62.8mpg
  • CO2: 105g/km
  • Equipment: Climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, bodykit, sports seats
  • On sale: September
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