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New 2021 Volkswagen Polo GTI facelift unveiled with 204bhp

The new Volkswagen Polo GTI hot hatch packs more power than key class rivals, including the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i20 N

The facelifted Volkswagen Polo GTI has been revealed, with the compact hot hatchback arriving with a revised 204bhp 2.0 TSI engine and more driver assistance systems. 

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit also produces 320Nm of torque, and as the Polo GTI comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic only, with launch control the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 6.5 seconds. The GTI will hit a top speed of 149mph.

The hot supermini is also fitted with VW’s XDS electronic differential lock as standard to help deliver a level of agility to match its straight-line performance. Unlike rivals such as the Hyundai i20 N and Ford Fiesta ST, which use mechanical locking differentials, the VW system uses torque vectoring by braking.

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Compared with the standard Polo, VW has reduced the GTI’s ride height by 15mm to further improve cornering ability. Adaptive dampers will be available as an option and will be linked to the four different driving modes. These include Eco, Normal and Sport, with an Individual setting allowing drivers to choose their preferred parameters for each individually configurable area.

Opting for the adaptive dampers - what VW calls its Sport Select running gear - also brings with it a stiffer anti-roll bar at the front and more rigid mountings for the suspension components; based on the brands MQB A0 platform, with a kerb weight of 1,286kg the GTI is relatively light given it uses an automatic gearbox (which also allows coasting to improve efficiency) and this relatively low figure should also help handling.

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Just like the rest of the recently updated VW Polo line-up, the GTI features styling inspired more by its big brother, the Mk8 Golf.

There is also more equipment usually seen on larger models, such as advanced driver assistance systems to improve safety. These include VW’s IQ.Light matrix LED headlights, IQ.Travel Assist semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control (which works from stationary to 130mph), lane assist, cross traffic alert, front assist with autonomous emergency braking and much more connectivity inside.

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VW’s Digital Cockpit Pro is standard, featuring a 10.25-inch display with bespoke graphics for the GTI. It’s teamed with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, which can be upgraded to a 9.2-inch panel.

It’s part of the Polo’s push to go more digital, and the connectivity on offer backs this up, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included. Wireless charging is also available.

Red detailing outside, a GTI trademark honeycomb grille and 17-inch alloys mark this Polo out as the most sporty variant in the line-up, with 18-inch wheels available as an option. The car is also available in five colours.

Inside, sports seats with the recognisable GTI check pattern upholstery are fitted, and as the new Polo is based on the same MQB A0 platform as the regular supermini, meaning it’s only available as a five-door, the GTI shouldn’t be any less practical, offering easy access to the rear and a 351-litre boot.

Prices for the new Polo GTI have not yet been confirmed, but expect the new car to start from around £25,000 when it goes on sale in the UK. Deliveries are set to commence later this year.

Now read our review of the pre-facelifted Volkswagen Polo GTI

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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