Volkswagen Polo GT TSI : Real Metal
If you live in a crowded city and are terrorized by dense traffic situations, it’s more likely you will choose a hatch. After finalizing the body type, next is the fuel option. Obviously, if you spend ages gazing at different traffic lanes and proceed at snail’s pace then diesel is your only option provided your point B is miles away.
While the above is a reality, we all still harbor mostly unrealistic ambitions of driving on endless roads with no traffic. Not many of us get an opportunity to drive on race tracks but only dream of it. For a moment, if someday day we get the streets to ourselves then what are the different options. Some would throw in exotics like Ferrari, Porsche while others would choose tuners like Mitsubishis and Hondas. Let’s not forget that these machines are insanely expensive to own or build. So our dream just stays a dream?
Volkswagen has always had a premium image in its segment. They have been making their so called bread and butter Polos for quite some time now. The company had ventured in the performance car segment with the Polo 1.6 but then sadly it couldn’t survive for long among our high on Fuel Economy generation. This didn’t let down VW and instead encouraged them to bring out a car which would satisfy the enthusiast and the matured. VW calls it the Polo GT TSI.
So how does it feel to drive a hatch which has more than 100 German horses strapped inside its heart and has a 7 Speed DSG transmission to control all of them? Also, this one is not only for the performance cravers as the GT TSI claims to deliver a mileage of 17.2 Kmpl. We drive the GT TSI for a brief period and find out more on this real hatch.
Volkswagen Polo has always had staunchly distinguishing lines compared to other hatchbacks. While hatchbacks by definition have been mere smaller cars, the Polo offers character and compactness without losing its sharpness. Its edgy appearance makes it unique. The minimal design elements makes it look sophisticated and premium.
The company deliberately chose to make its car not look cheesy by giving it dummy air scoops and fake spoilers but just drop hints of what’s under the hood. The front profile of the GT TSI is identical to the normal version. It has razor sharp styling everywhere. The headlights are done in a black finish. The lower section of the bumper protrudes out with a chiseled jaw line.
The radiator grille is done in chrome and sports GT badges on the twin slat grille. The bonnet line looks relaxed while it flows along the length and immediately concludes just above the radiator grille. Seen from front, the flared wheel arches make the car look wide.
The silhouette will definitely confuse you for normal Polo if not for the GT TSI decals on the C Pillar. The 15 inch 10 spoke alloy wheel has been carried as standard package from the highline variant. The door handles are body colored while the ORVMS come in a two tone finish. Since the tail appears at a taller position than the front, it gives an athletic stance to the car.
It has one of the smartest rear profiles available in its segment. In fact, certain cues of the Polo can also be seen on the rear profiles of A Class and the upcoming BMW 1 series hatch. On the rear tail door, it just mentions GT and TSI but not the model name. This is natural as the model is so very popular that the company chose to highlight the variant name only. It has an integrated spoiler on the roof of the tail door.
Unlike the normal Polo which comes in 6 color shades, the GT TSI comes only in Candy White, Flash Red and deep black. Overall, the GT TSI with its minimal design approach looks very stylish.
The interiors of the Polo GT TSI are a familiar territory if you have been inside any Volkswagen car. They aren’t as flamboyant as Hyundai’s fluidic but then that’s the best part of these cars. They are very functionally designed. It has a minimal approach for maximum utilization.
The leather wrapped steering wheel has audio and phone controls on it. The instrumental panel is simple and has red digits showing all the necessary information. It shows information like trip reading, gear engaged, fuel left, average speed etc. The front dashboard is done in two tones with beige and dark finish. The colours used in the interiors trims are very subtle and don’t look very bling with heavy chrome surround.
It gets Milan Titanschwarz fabric upholstery. The two tone seats appear decent if not high on premium feel. The fabric quality on the seats could have been better especially if you relate it with the staggering price tag. Front row seats are comfortable with the driver’s seat being height adjustable. For taller people, the kneeroom can be an issue. The steering adjustment lever keeps rubbing with the knee when the car is fully occupied.
Rear passenger comfort is good. The headroom in the rear section is great and also the passengers in this section enjoy great visibility. Wide door openings help easy ingress and convenient egress. The Polo is at extreme comfort when it occupies four passengers at the maximum.
Just to make you realize that this is not the normal Polo (after paying that premium of an amount there are less chances of you not realizing) there are GT badges on the scruff plate with a chrome finish. Even the pedals look racy with the metallic tinge. The short and stout transmission stick with DSG engraved on it is sufficient to make you feel that this is not a normal auto box.
There are provisions on the front door pocket to fill hold a 1.5L bottle. Inside the glove box there is a provision to smartly tuck in a sunglass. The rear section seats can be made to collapse easily thus increasing the luggage compartment. There is a parcel tray sliced just above the luggage compartment to create a subtle partition. For a compact hatch, it offers generous luggage space.
The performance car segment in India is very niche and only few manufacturers dare to venture in it as the numbers are painstakingly low. Rising fuel costs, staggering maintenance expenditure have strangulated this mushrooming segment.
The number of cars seen with after market performance enhancing fitments vindicates the fact that there is a group who is ready to spend to get the ultimate performance. However, there is always a risk of these fitments not being genuine and even at times hampering the performance of the car.
While some prefer to aesthetically make their car look fast, Volkswagen chose the other way round. They made the Polo GT TSI suited with a smart Tuxedo as there lies a skin biting engine under the hood which can be made to rip the streets by a slight shift of the DSG stick.
Unlike the conventional three cylinder displacement which is a mere car hauler, the GT TSI gets a four cylinder Turbo Stratified Injection technology. This technology debuts for the first time in any hatch in India. Its compact dimensions make it deliver performance of multiple cylinder engines. The TSI technology practically pumps in more air in the cylinder thus squeezing more power from the 4 cylinder unit.
For me personally, I have always fancied Polo’s stealth inspired design. It looks like what Mr.Bruce Wayne would have driven around when his Italian horse was resting. If it is about Performance then Polos have already proved their mettle. Many rally drivers swear by its power output.
When I finally got inside the GT TSI and cranked it, I was expecting a band of hooligans to start their jamming inside the hood but instead was greeted by a silent muffle of German engineering. There is a matured note when the engine speed is raised in standstill which drops a hint that the badges are for real.
I chose to rely on the computer with the D mode of drive. In this mode the gear shifts happen at the optimum engine speeds and there is no lag of any sort. The steering is precise and the Polo feels all charged to be thrown in any corner. In stop go traffic, the automatic box performs exceedingly well.
On empty stretches, we decided to tease the box with the manual shift. A major handicap in this mode is the absence of Shift Paddles behind the steering wheel. It is not convenient at high speeds to keep juggling between the steering wheel and the gear stick. More than convenience it seems unsafe to do so.
The most enthusiastic mode has to be the Sport mode which increases the engine speed and thus shifts only when the engine reaches its peak. The Sports mode performs brilliantly without any error and goes on up shifting without any hassle.
The GT TSI is powered by a 1.2L four cylinder TSI engine which delivers a peak power output of 105PS at 5000 rpm and a torque of 170Nm in a range of 1500 to 4100 rpm. Normally, only torquey diesel engines create a strong push back but in the case of GT TSI, it’s the only petrol hatch to blow away everyone with its exhilarating performance.
The 4 cylinder TSI unit feels balanced across the power band. It does not need to build momentum and instead kicks in before the 2000 rpm mark. The well balanced transmission rations too compliment its fantastic drivability. In fact, with such performance figures, it won’t be exaggerating to claim that the GT TSI is the country’s best affordable performance hatch.
The ride quality tends to close in more towards stiffer side than soft suspensions. If the surfaces are glass smooth than it’s not an issue at all but only when it faces uneven surfaces the suspensions gets little uncomfortable. One more drawback is the lack of strong bite of brakes. Try making the car come to a halt from a high speed and the brakes refuse to act swiftly. Even though the car feels fast the brakes needs considerable improvement.
The GT TSI made the enthusiastic kid in me extremely happy with its performance. But then conventionally when the kid is happy the matured is not so reason being such cars leave a deep hole in the pocket. So if you plan to apply for a petrol loan stay assured the GT TSI won’t let that happen either. It delivered a best fuel mileage of 16 kmpl which is the best considering the overall package.
|Transmission||7 Speed DSG Automatic|
|Turning radius in M||4.9|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (L)||45|
|Boot capacity (L)||250|
|Features||Polo GT TSI|
|Single folding rear seat back rest||Yes|
|Leather wrapped steering wheel||Yes|
|Leather wrapped gear shift knob and handbrake lever handle||Yes|
|Electronic stabilisation Programme (ESP)||Yes|
|Anti lock braking system(ABS)||Yes|
|Dual front airbags(driver and co driver seat)||Yes|
|Electroninc engine immobiliser with floating code||Yes|
|Fog Light (Rear and front)||Yes|
|Hill Hold Function||Yes|
|Climatronic(Automatic air conditioning)||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||Yes|
|Speed related electroninc steering||Yes|
|Central locking with boot opener in company logo||Yes|
|Remote central locking||Yes|
|Twin Din RCD 320 Music system||Yes|
|Rear de fogger||Yes|
|Multi Function Display||Yes|
|Multi function steering wheel||Yes|
|Rear parking sensor||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||GT TSI||Automatic Asta||TRD Sportivo|
|Price (Ex showroom Mumbai) in Lakhs||803494||635824||603287|
|Transmission||7 Speed DSG Automatic||4 Speed Automatic||5 Speed Manual|
|Turning radius in M||4.9||4.9||4.8|
|Tyres||185/60 R15||155/80 R13||185/60 R15|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||45||35||45|
|Mileage in KMPL||16||16||16.7|
|Leather wrapped steering wheel||Yes||Yes||No|
|Leather wrapped gear shift knob and handbrake lever handle||Yes||Yes||No|
|Electronic stabilisation Programme (ESP)||Yes||No||No|
|Anti lock braking system(ABS)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual front airbags(driver and co driver seat)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electroninc engine immobiliser||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fog Light (Rear and front)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Automatic air conditioning||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Speed related electroninc steering||Yes||Yes||No|
|Remote central locking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear de fogger||Yes||Yes||No|
|Multi Function Display||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Multi function steering wheel||Yes||Yes||No|
|Rear parking sensor||Yes||Yes||No|
What are the different cars we get in so much money? Ford Classic sedan, Ford SUV EcoSport or perhaps the premium Honda City sedan. They all have one thing in common against the Polo GT TSI, which is size. In addition to that, they have one more thing in common. All of them are just Point A to Point B travelers whereas the GT TSI is an insanely fun machine.
Claiming the GT to be overpriced is not fair if you consider all the segment first features that Volkswagen has squeezed in this hot hatch. The 7 Speed DSG automatic gearbox is like a whiplash on all those German horses belted inside the engine.
Scared by the notion of delivering fuel efficient cars, not many manufacturers are keen to bring in performance based cars considering the racing fuel prices. The Polo GT TSI is the first in class and is definitely here to stay. It indeed has the REAL METAL to lash the competition.