NEWS: Volkswagen Says No to Polo R, but Jetta R, Audi S1 Under Development

By Andrew Peterson - May 20, 2010
Volkswagen recently launched its new Polo GTI overseas, but is there room for an even hotter form of its smallest hatch? Not likely -- although its R GmbH tuning division is open to crafting performance models of virtually every VW model (including the Jetta), executives feel a Polo R would step on the toes of a new Audi S1 model that’s also in the works.
“I would say there have been some ideas about [Polo R], but more in the press than the company itself because we have our [Polo] GTI and within our company Audi has an *** Dr. Ernst Linder, technical chief of the new Polo, told “The S1 topped our [Polo] GTI and to put a car above both, we think we’ll not have the same volume to make it interesting. “
Although we’ve only seen Audi’s A1, Linder confirmed the S1 variant will utilize the same supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 as the Polo GTI (good for roughly 182 horsepower), mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. A Polo R designed to outperform the S1 wouldn’t necessarily make financial sense, as extra power would require other features -- notably all-wheel-drive -- that could make the VW more expensive than the Audi.
“From the technical point-of-view, of course we can do something,” Linder said. “From the financial point-of-view it doesn’t make so much sense. It would be too expensive and we have the S1. The S1 will have 182 horsepower and it’s a very sporty car. If we put much more power in the [Polo], we need something like four-wheel-drive. This is a technical feature that is very expensive.”
In order to attain more power, a Polo R would also need to adopt a different engine, which could prove expensive. Linder says the twincharged 1.4-liter I-4 is already close to its maximum power output, and can only be tuned for an additional 10-20 more horsepower.
While Linder crushed the idea of a Polo R, he did confirm a Jetta R will work its way into VW’s European lineup shortly after a new Jetta launches next year. Linder didn’t indicate what will power the Jetta R, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it cribbed the 267-horsepower, 2.0-liter I-4 from the Golf R. We’d love to see a Jetta hotter than the GLI in our market, but seeing as cost and pricing are threatening the Golf R’s arrival in the U.S., we wouldn’t be surprised if this remains a forbidden fruit.


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