Volkswagen Polo R WRC is One Mean Little Hatchback [2011 Frankfurt Auto Show]

Ask someone from Volkswagen what their most important reveal is at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the answer will be simple: the Up!, the diminutive city car with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. That’s all well and good, but what about a car (another small car we might add) that’s just awesome. We are, of course, talking about the Polo R WRC, the VW brand’s entry into the World Rally Championship.

Shown before in sketches, Frankfurt is the first public showing of hot-hatch on steroids, with massively flared fenders doing a poor job of hiding VW’s all-wheel drive setup. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine pumped all the way up to 296-hp.

Set to compete in next-year’s WRC season this is at least some indication that VW is planning a Polo R street model with AWD – a full baby brother to the Golf R. We’ll just settle for a Polo GTI.. if only VW would bring the sub-compact to North America.