Who says thriftiness can't be any fun? The new 2012 Volkswagen Polo Blue GT, which launches today at the Geneva Motor Show, not only packs a 140-hp punch into a subcompact hot hatch, but it also promises some fairly impressive fuel economy.
Apart from a different grille and a lack of fog lamps, the new Polo Blue GT looks quite a bit like its sibling, the range-topping Volkswagen Polo GTI. Where the two differ is underhood. The Polo GTI's primary claim to fame is its turbo- and supercharged 1.4-liter I-4, which sends as much as 180 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels.
The Polo Blue GT, on the other hand, makes use of an all-new 140-hp, direct-injection, turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4, which is derived from Volkswagen's new EA211 family of engines. The engine boasts variable cam timing on both the intake and exhaust sides, along with a feature new to Volkswagen's four-cylinder ranges: cylinder deactivation. When throttle load is continually light, the new 1.4T will run on only two cylinders.
Doing so helps boost the Volkswagen Polo Blue GT's fuel economy by a sizable measure. Volkswagen claims shutting two cylinders off when cruising at 43 mph helps cut fuel consumption by 11 mpg. On the EU test cycle, the function helps the Polo Blue GT return up to 52 mpg combined, if equipped with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Despite this fairly impressive fuel consumption figure, the Polo Blue GT shouldn't be a slouch. Volkswagen expects the Polo Blue GT to sprint from 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds, and ultimately reach a top speed of 131 mph. That's pretty quick, and not far off from the Polo GTI, which does the same run in 6.9 seconds before hitting a top end of 142 mph.
The Polo Blue GT is slated to go on sale in Europe this July, but like the Polo range itself, the Blue GT isn't likely to make the trek over to North America in the near future. That said, Volkswagen has said this engine family is a "technological pillar" of its new MQB modular platform, which will underpin most -- if not all -- future Volkswagen models sold here. Expect something quite similar to wind up in an engine compartment near you in the years to come.