PoloDriver.com first drives: 2010 Volkswagen Polo SEL 1.2 TSI and BlueMotion 1.2 TDI

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Everything Volkswagen Polo Issue 003 // July 2010 : tion o M O e B l u g /k m C 2 1 9

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First Drives //

1.2 TSI and 1.2 TDI BlueMotion

july 2010 | polodriver.com | page 02

Twin turbos Bolstering the Polo range, the turbocharged TSI and BlueMotion have arrived. We drive them WORDS // rich gooding pictures // rich gooding and volkswagen uk press office


here’s no doubt that the new Polo has been a sales success for Volkswagen, not only in the UK, but also around the world. Soon to hit Eastern Europe and India in saloon form and with CrossPolo and GTI versions on sale on the continent, the UK range is nearing completion with the addition of the new TSI and BlueMotion variants. Volkswagen UK recently invited us to the leafy lanes of Leicestershire to drive these new Polo family members. Polo SEL 1.2 TSI The SEL tops the ‘mainstream’ new Polo range, and the 1.2-litre TSI version has been long‑awaited by UK buyers. Powered by Volkswagen’s new small-capacity turbocharged engine, the Polo SEL TSI develops 104bhp and sprints to 62mph in 9.7 seconds. The next most powerful Polo after the forthcoming GTI, the TSI delivers smooth both relaxed and smooth performance, with 129lb ft of torque available between 1550-4100rpm. Costing £14,710 in three-door form – add another £600 for two additional openings – the TSI is a whole £3500 cheaper than the sportier Polo GTI. Equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox (no automatic option is available), the TSI has a top speed of 118mph and emits just 124g/km of CO2. july 2010 | polodriver.com | page 04

As befits a high-end model, the SEL TSI comes well-equipped, offering much more standard kit over the lowlier SE. The most visual change is the addition of 7J x 16” ‘Navarre’ multispoke alloy wheels along with a chrome-trimmed front air intake surround. Alternative 7J x 17” ‘five‑spoke ‘Boavista’ alloys are also available and were fitted to our five‑door test car, and really looked the business, but then they should; at £400, they’re a not inconsiderable cost. Other SEL features include an alarm, carpet mats, front centre armrest, front fog lights, three-spoke leather-trimmed steering wheel, iPod connection, multifunction computer, and tyre pressure indicator. To drive, the TSI is every inch the turbocharged sprinter you’d expect it to be. Mid-range punch from the 1197cc engine is impressive, and the car feels genuinely swift, even sounding sporty as the engine growls its way through the rev range. And yet, refinement is still a Polo strength which can be found here. The SEL TSI feels composed when riding on its 215/45 R16 rubber (and even with the optional 17” wheels and 215/40 R17 tyres), and although the speed-sensitive steering has limited feel, the car can be hustled through corners enthusiastically. A polished and eager performance.

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Polo BlueMotion 1.2 TDI Ninety-one. That’s the number of hydrocarbons the new Polo BlueMotion puffs out into the air. A suitably low number for a car with eco credentials, the latest version of Volkswagen’s trailblazing fuel‑sipping supermini builds on the first model launched in 2006, and carries forward the green baton to a new Polo generation. Just like that original car, the latest Polo BlueMotion is fitted with an aerodynamic body kit – deeper front and rear bumpers with integrated spoilers, side skirts, rear window spoiler, faired-in grille and unique alloy wheels – but also has a Start/Stop system and gear change indicator light, both developments over the previous model.

Does it deliver? As with the previous generation model, the 2010 Polo BlueMotion offers a characterful driving experience. Arguably the new Polo with the most personality (at least until the GTI arrives in the UK), the engine is as audible as before, but the three-cylinder thrum is appealing. The longer gearing from the five-speed ‘box can make the 1071kg car appear to run out of puff too early, though, and acceleration to 62mph from rest takes 13.9 seconds. But remember that this is a car with no sporting pretensions, despite its appearance. The engine delivers its maximum torque of 133lb ft at 2000rpm and enables the Polo BlueMotion to reach a 107mph top speed.

Powered by a unique and all-new 1.2-litre TDI engine with an output of 74bhp, Volkswagen quotes the BlueMotion’s fuel consumption as 80.7mpg on the combined cycle. With that type of economy and one cylinder less, the three-pot engine is definitely a member of the less is more club. What’s not less is the price – the cheapest three-door Polo BlueMotion is £14,445, and while that pegs it at the same level as the TSI on the previous pages, it’s there any similarities end. The BlueMotion’s purpose is simple – to deliver as many miles per gallon as possible, but with some style in the process.

And while the steering is, like the TSI, not the ultimate in feel, the handling offers much more agility and dynamism than the Series 4 Polo. The Polo trump card of ride comfort remains, the 5.5J x 15 ‘Greenland’ rims – they reminded us of 1970s Porsche 924 or original Audi Quattro ‘cookie cutter’ alloys – and low‑rolling resistance 185/60 R15 tyres offering a well-judged compromise between economy and refinement. But, compromise is one thing the new Polo BlueMotion isn’t. It rarely feels like an economy car, and it doesn’t take much adjustment to make achieving high mpg values fun. page 09 | polodriver.com | july 2010

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Summary What these two new Polo variants have in common is that they are both powered by all-new small-capacity turbocharged engines. That they are priced similarly is a happy coincidence, as their remits are very different. The TSI serves as a refined range-topper to the mainstream Polo models, while the BlueMotion is tuned for economy first. Arriving into the UK at the same time, they won’t make huge inroads into the small car market – Volkswagen UK forecasts sales of around 1000 of each this year – but what they both do is show how a small engine can perform in a way that matches a much larger unit. They both also offer qualities so far unseen in the new range; the TSI has a big-engined, big-car eagerness while the BlueMotion urges you on with its characterful personality. With their turbo engines and high fuel economy pointing to the downsizing shape of things to come, they both also offer a technological glimpse into the future.

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Thanks to Allison, Angus, Kate and the Volkswagen UK Press Office For more information on the Volkswagen Polo visit www.volkswagen.co.uk

Everything Volkswagen Polo

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