2022 VW Polo GTI Review – Still Want That Golf?

Soon, all the performance VWs will come with hybrid drive or all-electric with all-wheel drive, so PVW got behind the wheel of the 2022 Polo GTI to enjoy the hot hatch while we still can, even if it does only come with four doors…

Review from Performance VW. Words: Words: Neil Birkitt.

Amongst a raft of new electric models and numerous hybrid versions, it’s good to see the iconic VW logo still making its presence in the range, with GTI versions of the up! the Golf and now the latest Polo for 2022.

Heading up the revised sixth-generation four-door Polo range, which made its debut in 2021, the new hot hatch version comes with more power, enhanced styling, equipment upgrades, improved safety, and premium-car technology.

Based on the A0 variation of the same MQB platform as the Golf GTI, the hot Polo is powered by the 2.0-litre (1984 cc) four-cylinder turbocharged TSI petrol power plant with dual injection (direct and manifold injection), electronic valve lift on the intake, and a particulate filter. Producing 207 PS, up slightly from the 200 PS of its predecessor, it develops maximum torque of 320 Nm over a broad range between 1500 and 4500 rpm.

2022 VW Polo GTI

There’s no longer a manual gearbox option, but in combination with the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG) it is claimed to be capable of achieving 62 mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds and will run to a top speed of 149 mph, performance which would leave many classic Golf GTIs trailing in its wake.

Handling improvements include lowered suspension, the ride height reduced by 15 mm, uprated running gear with a larger front anti-roll bar, more rigid track rods at the front and stiffer axle-locating mounts at the rear. Distinctive alloy wheels come equipped with high-performance tyres, with 7.5×17-inch ‘Parker’ alloy wheels fitted as standard and 18-inch ‘Faro’ rims available as an option, fitted with 215/40 R18 rubber.

2022 VW Polo GTI

Further dynamic improvement comes courtesy of the standard fit XDS electronic differential lock, a part of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and traction control systems, which prevents wheel spin and loss of traction by modulating brake pressure on the front wheel on the inside of a bend. It’s not as supremely effective as the ‘VAQ’ front diff found on the high-performance Golf GTI, but it does a good job of keeping the Polo GTI on the right track.

The Polo GTI is also equipped with Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC), including Driving Profile Selection, which provides two different characteristics – Comfort and Sport – for the adjustable dampers. DPS also offers four modes: Eco, Individual, Normal and Sport, modifying the steering, engine characteristic and DSG shift patterns as required.

2022 VW Polo GTI

In Sport mode, the exhaust note is enhanced, also achieved in the Individual driving profile, while in the Eco mode the DSG transmission engages a coasting function; when the driver lifts off the accelerator the engine drops to idling speed, improving fuel economy, and reducing emissions.

Special styling features include GTI-specific bumpers, a red GTI grille badge, red-painted brake callipers, honeycomb air intake grilles, and the red trim above the LED daytime running lights strip. Standard features are the IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights, and an illuminated radiator grille crossbar to complement the daytime running lights, while the LED tail lights, extending towards the middle of the tailgate, now feature the dynamic indicators which sweep outwards in the direction of turn.

Inside, the roof pillars and headliner are trimmed in Titanium black, with red contrast stitching applied throughout the interior. Sports seats with ‘Jacara’ check pattern is standard, with sports comfort seats in ArtVelours material available as an option. The dash panel is now finished as standard in glossy Kings Red, or alternatively a more subdued Deep Iron hue.

The instruments and Infotainment system are located on one visual axis for easier assimilation, and the 10.25-inch screen of the Digital Cockpit Pro system boasts higher pixel density, better contrast and more intense colours.

2022 VW Polo GTI

The Discover Media Navigation system incorporates the latest-generation Infotainment system with high-resolution 8.0-inch display. Optional extras include a Beats Sound System with six speakers, subwoofer, 300W power output and 8-channel amplifier.

The standard equipment list also provides a centre airbag between the front seats as well as curtain airbags at front and rear, background lighting in the door trims and dash panel, 2Zone air-con with an upgraded digital control unit and DSG paddles on the leather-trimmed multifunction sports steering wheel. The ‘Light and Sight’ pack includes automatic headlight control, Coming/Leaving Home light function, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Paint colours offered on the Polo GTI comprise Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, Kings Red Metallic, Reef Blue Metallic and Smokey Grey Metallic, with a black roof option available in combination with the white, red, and blue paintwork.

2022 VW Polo GTI

No longer a small car (it’s very similar in size to a Mk4 Golf in fact) the latest Polo GTI is now available to order here in the UK, priced from £26,430 RRP on-the-road. That’s a good deal cheaper than the latest Golf GTI (from £34,940) and well worthy of consideration…

Tech Spec: 2022 VW Polo GTI

Engine: 1984 cc 4-cylinder turbo TSI with direct injection

Power: 207 PS (152 kW)

Torque: 320 Nm (236 lb.ft)

Transmission: Front-wheel drive, 7-speed DSG gearbox

Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 6.5 secs

Top speed: 149 mph (240 kph)

Fuel economy: (According to NEDC test, in l/100 km) Urban 7.4, Extra-urban 4.8-4.6, Combined 5.8-5.6 (31.8, 49-51 and 40.5-39.2 mpg respectively) Combined CO2 emissions: 131-128 in g/km


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