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RPM TV Website | July 18, 2019

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Victory for VW engineers as Polo R gets board approval

VW Polo R VW Polo R
Adam Schoeman

Volkswagen AG’s engineers can breath a sigh of relief: the VW board has approved the business case for one of its more potent concept cars, the VW Polo R.

The green light comes after numerous engineering triumphs, chief amongst those being Audi’s success in transplanting a VW Group four-wheel drive system into the A1 platform for its upcoming S1.

Sébastien Ogier’s title win for Volkswagen in a Polo R WRC rally car has also helped transform the R from a skunkworks project to a concept with enough prestige and viability to gather a real following.

In the tradition of most R cars (except the Scirocco), the Polo R will be equipped with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive  system. This was an essential prerequisite, as VW was not comfortable with linking the standard Polo’s front-wheel drive configuration to the proposed engine.

That might sound like a bit too much interference from a manufacturer, but the Polo R’s engine is not just a hotter version of the 1,4-litre turbocharged motor from the standard Polo GTI.

VW Polo R

VW Polo R

It will actually be powered by a version of the Golf GTI’s turbocharged 2,0-litre motor, but while the Golf produces 162 kW, VW is aiming at a somewhat more ambitious 186 kW for the Polo R.

With that much power linked up to the 4Motion system via a six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, VW claims the Polo R will reach 100 km/h from standstill in less than 6 seconds.

Hopefully we should know more in March, when the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors.  The expo should also provide some indication on the direction Audi will be adopting with the Polo R’s sister car, the S1.

Historically, Volkswagen’s Golf R has been a near copy of Audi’s S3, so it will be interesting to see if Audi will also adopt the uprated engine envisaged for the Polo, or stick to the 162 kW mill previously expected.

It doesn’t take rocket science to deduce that Audi’s won’t allow a Polo to trounce it in power terms, so expect the S1 to match the R’s output, at the very least.

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