Volkswagen’s brand new rally weapon wasn’t the only bit of machinery in the company’s arsenal on display in Monte Carlo overnight. They also brought along the promised road-going version of the Polo R WRC. Confusingly, both cars carry the same title.
A quick glance over the spec sheet of the production model Polo R WRC will be sure to bring a smile to most hot hatch fans. Volkswagen has managed to stuff a 2.0 TSI engine under the bonnet and, crucially, a 6-speed manual gearbox too. That last bit will be music to the ears of Polo GTI fans who have hitherto been lamenting the fact that car was only available with a DSG transmission.
On paper, outright performance from the Polo R WRC doesn’t look earth shattering. Volkswagen says 0–100km/h takes 6.4 seconds, thanks to the 162kW/350Nm being sent through the front wheels. Indeed, we’d not be surprised if there’s some sort of torque-limiting trickery in first gear, and possibly second as well. However, once up and going we expect the in-gear acceleration to provide the driver with a wide grin.
Given the drama displayed by the rally car, the bodykit on the road-going Polo R WRC is a little tame, although the 18″ Cagliari alloys do look quite nice. VW has perhaps tried to help the conservative body by adding competition-inspired decals on the bonnet and just above the side skirts. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but considering the Polo R WRC will be limited to just 2500 examples worldwide, it’s not like you’ll be seeing them everyday.
Available only as a three-door and exclusively in white you’ll need €33,900 and a bit of patience to get your hands on one of these. The order book opens next week, but deliveries are not scheduled until September 2013.
In case you’re wondering, the asking price is the best part of €11K more than the German list price for a Polo GTI. It’s even more than €6K more expensive that an entry-level Golf GTI. Hmm, perhaps, price may be the killer from preventing the Polo R WRC coming to Australia; we’re not actually certain than any RHD models will be made in any case. Emails are being sent to VW HQ now.
For now, Volkswagen has really given us just the single photo to go with this unveiling. So, after the press release below we’ll include the pics of the Polo R WRC “Street” which was displayed at the Wörthersee show in May.
UPDATE 11 December: Just read a report elsewhere suggesting the road-going Polo R WRC will be left-hand drive only. Yesterday, we asked VW Australia for a comment on its availability down under, the reply was along the lines of “It’s too early to say, ask again next year.”
World Rally Championship allure – “transferred” to production
Wolfsburg, 08 December 2012. The Polo R WRC, which enjoyed its world premiere in the run-up to the legendary Rally Monte Carlo, sees Volkswagen introduce the flair of this absorbing motorsport to the everyday automotive world. At the same time, the company is also adding a new high-performance variant to the portfolio of the successful compact model, which ranges from the Polo BlueMotion to the Polo GTI. With only 2,500 limited editions being produced, the powerhouse will go on offer for advanced sale on 11 December at a price of 33,900 Euros; the first customers will then receive their cars in September 2013.
The Polo R WRC reflects the dynamic character of its namesake the Polo R WRC, with which Volkswagen will make its debut in the World Rally Championship at the Rally Monte Carlo from 15th to 20th January 2013. A 2.0-litre TSI engine producing 162 kW/220 hp ensures the road-going version boasts an extremely sporty driving performance, tailored to the design of the car: the Polo R WRC has a top speed of 243 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds.
With its white paint job, the blue/grey stripe and WRC-style bumper, the Polo R WRC forms the bridge between the street car and the rally car driven by Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. The 18-inch alloy wheels (“Cagliari” type) in the star design are based on the wheels on the rally car; together with tyres from the 215/35 R 18 format, they underline the self-assured appearance of the Polo R WRC. The sports chassis guarantees that the handling lives up to the rest of the car, standard bi-xenon headlamps turn night into day.
350 Nm ensure a broad torque curve
The dynamic exterior of the Polo R WRC, which is available exclusively as a two-door model, is complemented by a suitably impressive drive train: instead of the 1.8-litre engine in the Polo GTI, which produces 132 kW/180 hp, the power on the front axle of the Polo R WRC is generated by a 162-kW/220-hp, 2.0-litre TSI engine. The maximum 350 Nm of torque produced by the turbo direct injection engine (Polo GTI: 250 Nm) vouch for an even broader torque curve and, accordingly, a more efficient stroke. A manual, six-speed gearbox also ensures efficient gear changes.
The interior is also brimming with authentic motorsport flair – including features like racing seats with WRC-specific covers, an Alcantara, multifunctional steering wheel, a black roof liner, and aluminium-style pedals. The special equipment on the production version also includes a centre arm rest (front), cruise control, light and rain sensors, a winter package (heated seats, headlamp cleaner, heated screen wash), Climatronic (climate control), an anti-theft alarm system, head airbags, and a radio/navigation unit with USB/MP3 interface.
Valued by the target group: performance and design
The most powerful Polo of all time will – according to market research – primarily appeal to a male clientele; Volkswagen reckons on 70 per cent of customers being men. 54 per cent of buyers will already have at least one other car at home; 79 per cent live in a two-person household. The driving properties, dynamic character, design and equipment are among the top reasons for purchasing the car.
With the Polo R WRC, Volkswagen is not only adding to its sporty “R” range of products, but is also expanding the Polo family, which ranges from the particularly economical Polo BlueMotion and cheeky Cross Polo to the new Polo BlueGT with ACT (Active Cylinder Technology).