New Volkswagen Polo GTI races in to Paris Motor Show

The new VW Polo GTI boasting 189bhp has been revealed at the Paris Motor Show

This is the new VW Polo GTI, pitched as a more premium alternative to the Ford Fiesta ST, SEAT Ibiza Cupra and Renaultsport Clio 200. VW has ignored the trend for downsizing and automatic gearboxes, fitting the Polo with a bigger, more powerful engine and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, unlike its DSG-only predecessor.

In place of the old Polo GTI's turbocharged and supercharged 1.4 TSI engine is a 1.8 TSI single-turbo unit, producing 189bhp and 320Nm of torque. But despite the extra cubic capacity and additional 12bhp and 70Nm of torque, the new Polo GTI is expected to improve on its predecessor’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures of 47.9mpg and 139g/km.

Best hot hatchbacks

In a move that’s sure to please hot hatch enthusiasts – and which could ensure a lower starting price – a six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, although a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch auto is available as an option. Whichever you choose, the Polo GTI covers 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds (0.2 seconds faster than the Fiesta ST), with a top speed of 147mph.

New optional equipment includes two-stage adaptive dampers, LED headlights and a ‘Sports Performance Kit’ – essentially a button to sharpen up the throttle response and add weight to the steering.

Styling changes are limited to sharper headlights, a new grille with a single red stripe along the bottom and a more aggressive bumper design split into three sections. On the inside, trademark tartan-trimmed sports seats are carried over, along with the new steering wheel, instrument cluster and infotainment system already fitted to standard models in the facelifted Polo range.

The new Polo GTI will be available with three or five doors, and order books will open before the end of 2014, with first deliveries in February next year. Prices are expected to start from around £19,000 for the three-door manual version.

Could the VW Polo GTI really challenge the Ford Fiesta ST? Let us know what you think in the comments below...

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