Volkswagen Polo BlueGT review
We drive the new Volkswagen Polo BlueGT, which mixes pace with economy of more than 60mpg
The BlueGT uses clever tech to save fuel, but demands no compromises in performance. It's a great warm hatch thanks to involving handling and sharp responses, but it's also relaxing to drive when you want to take it easy. Add in the efficiency of the ACT petrol engine, and it makes a lot of sense - perhaps even more so than the faster GTI.
The recently revised Volkswagen Polo is one of our supermini class favourites, but the hot GTI flagship failed to make an impact against rivals from MINI and Peugeot recently. Can the BlueGT make amends by combining the sportiness of the GTI and the efficiency of VW's BlueMotion technology to make a great warm supermini?
The Polo BlueGT looks relatively restrained and upright. That’s hardly surprising, though, as the standard car’s design isn’t exactly something to shout about. Plus, the BlueGT model couldn’t have too wild a look, otherwise it would outshine the faster GTI in the range.
The BlueGT gets exclusive 18-inch alloys, a unique design for its front bumper, a gloss-black grille, deeper side skirts and a racier rear bumper featuring twin exhaust pipes. There are blue GT badges front and rear, and a boot spoiler, too.
Inside, the BlueGT features the same high-quality cabin as the rest of the Polo range, although it gets a more cheerful look, courtesy of the blue and grey-trimmed sports seats. The standard Blue Speed cloth is definitely a highlight of the cabin, while the dash has a logical layout, with an intuitive touchscreen and top-quality switchgear. You also get a leather multifunction sports steering wheel, while going for a DSG automatic model adds shift paddles to the wheel.
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On the road, the Polo BlueGT uses its 148bhp 1.4-litre tubo engine well. It produces 250Nm of torque from low down and promises a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.8 seconds. Overtaking is a breeze and acceleration through the gears is quick. The 1.4 TSI engine features VW's Active Cylinder Technology (ACT), which shuts down two cylinders under light throttle to save fuel.
In operation, the ACT system is very effective, as it cuts in and out unobtrusively, adding only a touch of vibration. In fact, a bigger clue is the subtle eco graphic on the central trip display between the dials when two-cylinder mode is engaged.
This car is refined, and while it features 18-inch wheels, the Polo’s slightly higher-profile tyres contribute to a more compliant ride. The suspension is softer, too, but it remains well controlled in corners, with lots of grip.
The BlueGT also has VW’s XDS electronic diff lock, which applies brake pressure to the inside wheel in corners to reduce undesteer. As a result, the car feels sure-footed in bends and is composed and reassuring when pushing on, giving you confidence to explore its ability.
This cornering poise doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, either. Motorway cruising is quiet and city driving is a breeze, thanks to the Polo’s responsive steering and excellent damping.
The BlueGT is an expensive car when you consider its size, but you do get a decent amount of kit. The Polo’s ACT engine comes into its own to reduce running costs, though. Road tax is £20 annually, while the VW is a cheap company car, too. The three-door manual will cost lower-rate taxpayers £605 a year.
We managed 42.5mpg on test, which was some way short of the claimed 60.1mpg. However, a larger fuel tank means you can travel further between fills and a lighter right foot will return greater mpg. Add in strong residual values and level-pegging service plan costs, and the BlueGT is a tempting buy.