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Hoping that the compact Volkswagen Polo will head to the United States anytime soon? Don’t hold your breath, as the German automaker is focusing on its Jetta and Golf models and has no immediate plans to bring a Polo to the American market. But it is ready should market demand change says Volkswagen’s VP of marketing, Rainer Michel.
Volkswagen’s WRC entry in the form of a Polo R is out testing a little over a year before its official competition debut. The Polo R recently got its first bout of testing on a 1.5-mile tarmac track out in the vineyards in Trier, Germany.
Behind the wheel during test was Dakar winner Carlos Sainz and Volkswagen board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg; both took turns piloting the WRC car for about 60 miles with Timo Gottschalk as co-driver.
The actual car being used for testing won’t be the final version of the Polo R WRC, as Volkswagen is trying to gather as much data as possible to tweak the final race car before the start of the 2013 season. Both drivers said the car felt very good and its first batch of data is very promising for a real serious contender.
Details are light on the Polo R WRC, but it’s assumed that it’ll have around 300-hp to all four wheels. Volkswagen clearly knows they have their work cut out for them to compete against veterans Ford and Citroen in WRC, but they’re clearly taking the initiative in ensuring they have a fighting chance.
GALLERY: Volkswagen WRC Polo R
While reviewing the SCCA B-Spec rules, we came across a list of entries for the upcoming class and stumbled upon a few interesting candidates – namely the Volkswagen Polo, which the rule sheet claims may be imported for 2012.
Other entries, like the Hyundai Accent, Scion iQ and xD and Fiat 500 are interesting in their own right (especially since the Accent will face off against the Kia Rio, while the Scions will go against the Toyota Yaris B-Spec), but the Polo has long been rumored for a U.S. debut, and VW is said to be debuting a couple new products at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Could this be the introduction for a Volkswagen subcompact in America. Check back November 16th when coverage of the L.A. Auto Show begins.
[Source: Daytona Prototype]
Last year, Volkswagen stirred up some excitement by introducing the 2010 Polo GTI at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, and this year they’re following it up with an announcement of two R-Line packages for the Polo in addition to an Exclusive Edition for the Passat.
The pair of R-Line packages will be available as an option for the Polo Comfortline and the Polo Highline model, with one of the packages concentrating on the exterior while the other outfits the interior with upgrades.
The exterior R-Line package comes with 16- or 17-inch wheels with wider 215-tires, black gloss finish for the front grille, model-specific front and rear bumpers (based on Comfortline or Highline), a rear diffuser, chrome exhaust tips, a roof spoiler, pair of side skirts, fog lamps and LED license plate illumination. For the Comfortline the exterior R-Line package runs around $2,000 based on today’s conversion rates while the Highline will cost a little less than $1,400.
The interior R-Line package costs a tad over $1,175 for the Polo Comfortline and $620 for the Highline and with it comes a pair of sport seats up front – with Alcantara or leather option – black roof lining, sport leather steering wheel, glossy black dashboard trim and aluminum pedals and door sills.
For the Passat, Volkswagen will be offering an Exclusive Edition based on the Highline trim for the sedan at $44,700 and as a station wagon Variant for $46,300. The Exclusive Edition will outfit the Passat with a set of 18-inch wheels while it sits 0.6-inch lower thanks to sportier suspension. On the inside, where most of the changes are, VW accents the Passat with Nappa leather seats in a chocolate brown shade with contrast-colored stitching in Pepper White. The door panels and steering wheel also benefits from leather while special floor mats and a combination of wood and aluminum trim round off the accents.
At any rate, hopefully the R-Line package is just a teaser for the upcoming Polo R model that VW should be adding to its lineup next year.
GALLERY: Polo R-Line and Passat Exclusive Edition
Volkswagen gave us a first look at their Polo R WRC, a competition version of their Polo R hot hatch destined for the World Rally Championship. Powered by a 1.6L TSI four-cylinder engine, the all-wheel drive Polo R makes 296 horsepower thanks to turbocharging and direct injection.
The usual competition modifications, like a rollcage, bucket seats, upgraded brakes and suspension are all present, and Volkswagen’s rally experience in the Dakar rally will undoubtedly help them stay competitive in one of the world’s premiere motorsports series. If only we could get the Polo R stateside, we’d feel a lot better about the existence of this rally special.
See a video teaser of the car after the jump:
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.
Volkswagen is apparently engineering their small car PQ25 platform to accept all-wheel-drive. The adaptation would allow for a new range of sporty hot hatches, among them the Audi A1 and Volkswagen Polo R.
The all-wheel-drive modification would also allow for quasi SUV versions of the small hatch platform, such as a VW CrossPolo or even an Audi Q1. Audi decided to abandon the S1 moniker for the A1 1.4TFSI after realizing that the car would only be sold as a front-drive vehicle.
Volkswagen is looking at producing a small car (similar to the Polo pictured above) at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant alongside the upcoming New Midsize Sedan, set to replace the Passat when it debuts in 2011. The Chattanooga facility could also host a new engine plant as well.
The new U.S. plant is a vital factor in VW’s goal to move close to 1 million units in North America by 2018, as it will help significantly reduce the costs of producing vehicles for sale in North America. Volkswagen’s New Midsize Sedan will be cheaper and more suited to American tastes than the Passat. The Passat currently retails for about$27,000 while a comparable Accord can be had for under $20,000, thanks to an unfavorable euro-dollar exchange rate.
A new small car or SUV would help expand the product lineup, enabling VW to continue to move units while saving money on importing vehicles from Mexico or Europe.
The Volkswagen Polo is best known for its hatchback bodystyle, but certain markets, like Russia, prefer a traditional sedan bodystyle. VW threw a bone to 4-door lovers in Moscow, when it unveiled its new Polo sedan, but the big news for us is that the Polo sedan is a lock to come to North America, as VW ramps up its quest to push 800,000 vehicles out the door each year by 2018.
The Russian Polo sedan will come with a 1.6L 103 horsepower four-cylinder with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox, numbers that seem a little low for North American tastes. We’re hoping the 1.2 TSI turbo engine, or better yet, the Polo GTI, make it across the pond, but we won’t hold our breath.
Gallery: Volkswagen Polo Sedan
Hit the jump for the original press release
Volkswagen‘s been on a roll with hot hatches lately; the Scirocco, Golf GTI MKVI and Golf R are all fine performance cars that the common man can buy, but as the cars balloon in size, equipment and power, they become further and further removed from their ancestor, the tossable, no-frills MKI GTI.
The car that will inevitably draw comparisons to the MK1 is Volkswagens new Polo GTI, officially announced today, despite being shown at Geneva in March. The MK1 GTI weighed 1830 lbs, a little less than a Lotus Elise, hit 60 mph in just under 9 seconds and put out 110 horsepower from a 1.6L naturally aspirated four cylinder engine.
Today’s Polo GTI, which technically slots in below the Golf, weighs 2632 lbs, pumps out 170 horsepower from a 1.4L four cylinder engine with both a turbocharger and a supercharger and uses a twin-clutch 7-speed gearbox(!) to propel the Polo GTI to 60 in 6.9 seconds while returning a combined 39.9 mpg.
Before the inevitable judgements surface about how the Polo GTI is heavy, too laden with technology and has little in common with the spirit of the original, featherweight GTI, consider the following.
In the mid 1970′s, when the MK1 GTI was released, the dual clutch gearbox was being developed for use in the Porsche 962 LeMans car (and didn’t even appear until the mid 1980s), twincharging was still years away in the Lancia Delta S4 rally car, 40 mpg was the domain of dreadfully slow econoboxes and the premium interiors and build quality of the Polo just didn’t exist. Do I have to mention how far braking and crash safety has come in those few decades?
The Polo GTI packs the kind of technology once available to only the most advanced race cars, and creature comforts of a much more expensive car for relatively little money, not to mention represents a quantum leap in quantitative performance over the MK1 To paraphrase the comedian Louis C.K., this car is amazing and nobody is happy. The fact that this sort of equipment has trickled down into an everyman hot hatch really is a miracle.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Polo GTI
Hit the jump to read the official Volkswagen press release.
The Volkswagen Polo was named the 2010 World Car of the Year, beating out the other finalists, the Toyota Prius and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The VW Polo was selected by a jury of 59 international journalists from an overall field of 30 vehicles.
“We’re honored that the Volkswagen Polo was chosen by this distinguished group of jurors,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. “After the great triumph of the Golf last year, we are delighted to repeat this success with the new Polo. These automobiles have reaped numerous awards, winning well-nigh every prize the automotive industry has to award. This shows that Volkswagen is on the right track and is offering arguably the best range of products in its history.”
The Polo wasn’t the only Volkswagen to take home some hardware. The VW BlueMotion line also won the 2010 World Green Car Award.
Gallery: Volkswagen Polo
As we have previously reported, Volkswagen will bring it’s sub-compact Polo to the U.S. but not until 2011. Even more surprising is that the vehicle won’t be the same one that was just unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show.
According to a Automotive News report (soured on AutoBlog) the 2011 Polo will come to the U.S. in two different versions: a sedan and hatchback. VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News that the current Polo is still too small for the U.S. market – which is surprising because it looked pretty large to us in Geneva.
To resolve this issue, VW will build two new version of the car with a longer wheelbase and a slightly taller roof. The sedan model will be smaller than the Jetta and the four-door wagon/hatchback will be a competitor to the Honda Fit.
Jacoby did say that pricing for the sub-compact would have to be between $13,000 and $15,000 in order to compete in the segment, so expect the final products to have base prices in that range. In order to achieve that price, the vehicle will likely have to be built in North America – potentially at VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant.