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In Europe, hot-hatch enthusiasts can enjoy a faster version of the Golf in the form of the GTI, or they can go absolutely mad with the V6-engined, all-wheel drive Golf R32. But while they can also buy the Polo GTI, Volkswagen isn’t so sure about building a quicker and AWD version of the smaller hatch.
The Polo shares the same platform as the new Audi A1, the succinctly-named PQ25. It wasn’t initially developed for all-wheel drive, which renders a blow against the Polo R: all VW R models feature AWD, as it’s the trump card against the GTI. Without AWD the Polo R would just be a slightly faster and angrier version of the current Polo GTI, and not even Volkswagen could have the good conscience to promote that.
However, Audi’s A1 is currently looking at a quattro model. This could pave the way for a Polo R with the vaunted AWD, but it would also drive the price up: with the Polo GTI at £19,000 in the UK and the Golf GTI £6,000 more, the Polo R would be difficult to slot in between those.
Audi is certain to develop a high-performance version of its new A1 model in a bid to compete with the JCW-tuned MINI Cooper. So with production all but confirmed, the only questions remaining are: what engine will it have and will it be AWD?
In an interview with the folks at PistonHeads during the European A1 launch, the car’s product boss, Lars Adler, admitted that engines currently in use in the A3 could be made to fit under the hood of the A1. He also acknowledged that the A3′s AWD system could be adapted to the A1 – but not as easily.
There are serious doubts that a high-powered S1 or RS1 would use AWD, due to the added weight and the fact that none of the competing vehicles use it. As for the engines, a 200ish horsepower 2.0T engine would certainly make the A1 a blast to drive. Currently the most potent engine offered is a 1.4 TSI with 121-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Another strong possibility for the A1 is the new Polo GTIs engine, a 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger (supercharged and turbocharged) which makes 178-hp.
Volkswagen has released three images of the 2010 Polo GTI, which will be introduced at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show in March.
The 2010 Polo GTI will be powered by a 1.4 liter TSI engine, claiming 178 bhp, and a seven-speed DSG transmission. The GTI version stands 0.6 inches lower and uses stiffer suspension than the regular Polo. The Polo GTI will also use Volkswagen’s XDS electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved handling.
Inside, the Polo GTI features tartan cloth seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel.
AutoGuide.com will have more when the 2010 Volkswagen Polo GTI makes its debut at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show.
Gallery: 2010 Volkswagen Polo GTI