2021 Volkswagen Polo GTI breaks cover

The new sportier top trim Polo comes with updated features and design along with the usual GTI elements.

After releasing the sixth-gen Polo facelift back in April, Volkswagen finally unveiled the sportiest version of its hot hatch, the 2021 Polo GTI. The updated Polo GTI comes with technology influenced by the eighth-generation Golf. The German company claims that the new model has a specifically tailored sports chassis that is mated with the powerful TSI engine, transforming VW’s best-selling compact car into a dynamic four-door sports car.

The sport-hatch packs the automaker’s latest generation of assistance systems, including a semi-automated driving option, first for a Polo GTI. The new Polo GTI is available in five colours: Deep Black Pearl Effect, Smoke Grey Metallic, Kings Red Metallic, Pure White Uni, and Reef Blue Metallic. The latter three chassis colours can be combined with a contrasting black roof as an option (Roof Pack).

The new Polo GTI has gone through an exterior design update, just like other new Polo trims. On the front, it flaunts the ‘IQ Light’ LED matrix headlights as standard. Other new yet familiar elements are the LED strips that flow through the headlamps and run along with the radiator grille.

However, this top model in the Polo family stands out from its other variants, thanks to the red decorative strips that run parallelly just above the LED strip lights and a striking red GTI logo on the radiator grille. The grille itself gets a new honeycomb mesh pattern over the standard design seen on the other Polo variants.

At the rear, there is a new refreshed bumper design, wider taillights and dual exhaust tips. While this German hot-hatch still sits on standard 17-inch alloy wheels, they are available in a new dual-tone finish with red brake callipers. However, there is an option for 18-inch alloys, as well.

The Polo GTI receives the other usual sporty red accents, and the contrasting black roof and ORVMs, adding more sportiness to its stance. Volkswagen has also given the hot-hatch dynamic turn signals for the very first time. The German automaker has also lowered the chassis of the GTI variant by 15 millimetres in order to provide it better driving dynamics, safe neutrality and a high degree of driving comfort.

VW is also offering what it calls the ‘Sport Select’ running gear as an option. It includes adaptive dampers, a stiffer anti-roll bar at the front and more rigid axle-locating mountings for the suspension components. The Polo GTI is offered with three different basic driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport, with the last one offering an enhanced exhaust note. Meanwhile, there’s also a fourth slot that allows the driver to choose preferred parameters for each individually configurable area.

Let’s talk about the heart of this sporty hatchback now. Like all its predecessors, the new Polo GTI is also front-wheel drive. It is powered by Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. For transmission, this unit is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which comes as standard. However, there is no word on the long-rumoured manual gearbox option till now. The powertrain is expected to churn out 204 hp of power and 320 Nm of torque output like the outgoing model.

On the inside, the cabin is dominated by black, red, grey and chrome colours. The roof pillars and roof liner are retained in the Titanium Black trim colour, as always. Another typical element in the GTI is the red contrast stitching that adorns the seat surfaces, the gear lever trim and the standard multifunctional, leather sports steering wheel. The seats get recognisable GTI check pattern upholstery. There are GTI badging all over the cabin from the steering wheel to the door rims.

The hot-hatch flaunts VW’s Digital Cockpit Pro dashboard layout featuring a 10.25 inches screen on the dashboard, similar to the one used by the Golf. The system is loaded with all sorts of modern connectivity options, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also Wireless charging available in the new Polo GTI. The cabin also has an optional 300 watts Beats sound system, along with six speakers. The luggage capacity of the new Polo GTI is 351 litres.

Other interior specs are not yet officially announced, but we expect the Polo GTI to get the latest 8.0-inch fully digital instrument display with an upgrade option to a 9.2-inch panel, panoramic sunroof, new climate controls and voice control options.

Volkswagen has packed in the new Polo GTI with its IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist system for the first time. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane assist, side assist and rear traffic alert. Autonomous emergency braking is also standard, as is a driver alert system and automatic post-collision braking.

The pricing and delivery date of the 2021 Polo GTI is not yet disclosed, but expect more details in the coming weeks.

India launch? While Volkswagen sold the previous-gen Polo GTI in India as a fully-imported unit in limited numbers, the changes for the facelifted hot-hatch to make it to our shores are very slim right now. Currently, Volkswagen India is prepping up for the launch of two new SUVs this year, starting with the Taigun, followed by the updated 5-seat Tiguan.

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Himanshu Harsh

My love for automobiles is what fuels my writing. You can catch me twisting synth knobs when I'm not drooling over cars.

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