“Chassis can give more.”
Volkswagen’s new Polo is definitely a potent little thing, packing plenty of ability that, according to the marque’s chassis development boss, hasn’t been fully exploited. His comments to Autocar reignite the question of a Polo R once again, a far more powerful model that would sit above the present performance variant, the Polo GTi, and be alot more like the Golf R as far as the experience goes.
“The car is so stable, even in high speeds corners, that there is definitely much more capacity [for a more potent version].” — Karsten Schebsdat, Head of Chassis Tuning, Volkswagen
Of course, as the Polo has grown in size (and indeed ability), the concern of model overlap becomes a little more real. A Polo R could come very close to the performance abilities of the Golf R, so it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Volkswagen to omit some of the features that the R badge has been previously associated with.
For starters, should a Polo R come to fruition, it’s unlikely that it’ll pack the same 4Motion all-wheel drive system that the Golf R has, despite the ability to do so given that the Polo now shares its underpinnings with its bigger brother. Power should also be knocked down a bit to give the Golf R room to breathe, with the 2.0-litre TSI turbo-four that the two cars share likely to get something less than 220kW as to, again, give the Golf a wide-enough berth.
What is clear though is that the size and architecture of the new Polo will no longer be an obstacle of big power as it used to be, thanks to the latest generation’s increased size and ability to accommodate more aggressive cooling for higher-powered engines. What we know is that Volkswagen does already have several Polo R prototypes running around, and last we heard of them, they were doing a pretty decent job at convincing VW bigwigs that a Polo R had to be made.
It’s only sensible that a Polo R would come to light, as Volkswagen is all too aware of the cachet that the R badge now commands. The company has previously stated its intentions on expanding the R portfolio, with the T-Roc and Tiguan all but concretely confirmed to join the range.