The Golf GTI might be the standard bearer for hot hatches in the US, but abroad, Volkswagen packs a similar formula into an even smaller package. Debuting Monday at the 2021 IAA Munich Auto Show, the new Polo GTI is a pint-size hot hatch with a turbocharged punch, though like the rest of VW’s Polo range, it won’t be coming to the US.
That’s a shame, since it sounds like the new GTI will be a real hoot. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine making 204 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, running to the front wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. (No manual is available, womp womp.) The Polo GTI comes standard with VW’s XDS electronic front differential, helping to move that power between the front wheels while cornering. Weighing in at 2,835 pounds, VW says the Polo GTI can accelerate to 62 mph in a respectable 6.5 seconds.
Inside, the Polo looks a lot like the Mk 8 Golf GTI, complete with plaid seats (thank goodness). A 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard and the Polo can be optioned with either 8.0- or 9.2-inch central infotainment touchscreens, running VW’s latest MIB3 software. Other new tech bits from the eighth-generation Golf trickle down to the Polo, including haptic controls on the steering wheel, VW’s IQ Light matrix LED headlights and the IQ Drive suite of driver-assistance features, including lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and more.
Given, we have to assume the smaller Polo is just as fun. Here’s hoping we’ll get the chance to try one out in Europe someday.