2008 Volkswagen Polo GTI Review & Road Test
Options: None fitted
Performance, quality and price
Lackluster interior and notchy gearshifts
From front on, it looks like its big brother, the much praised and revered turbocharged Golf GTI. That would be due to the almost identical black honeycomb grille with red outline, complete with fog lamps and slightly smaller 16-inch (Denver) alloys.
That’s not surprising, weighing in at just 1164kg with 110kW and a highly usable 220Nm of torque coming on song at just 1950rpm, this pocket rocket will leave you with a great big grin on your face.
Drive it with a decent dollop of enthusiasm and acceleration from a standing start will leave many larger capacity cars in the dust. Where this thing really shines is its impressive mid range punch and third gear through to fifth will make you wish you were at Eastern Creek on a track day.
Top speed is a license cancelling 216km/h and that all important 0-100 sprint takes just 8.2 seconds although, I’m aware that faster times of below eight seconds have been recorded.
Despite its relative light weight, Volkswagen has chosen to go with some overly large rotors for fade free braking and quick stops. You want to hope that in the event of an emergency stop, you don’t have a tailgater behind you, such is its stopping power.
The Polo GTI eats bends for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and does so with consummate ease. There’s little bodyroll and the car is just so nimble and planted in and out of corners, thanks in part to its pinpoint accurate steering and suspension tuning.
If it's possible to drive this car without a trigger happy right foot, then you may well see fuel economy numbers close to 8.0-litres/100kms and an environmentally friendly CO2 emission output of just 190g/km.
As a three-door only car, you might be asking yourself if the Polo GTI is practical enough for a small family. The answer is yes, yes, yes. The front seats fold and slide forward with the slightest of effort, opening up a wide aperture for kids and adults alike to take their rear seat positions with stacks of head and legroom.
Active safety systems are equally well covered with the Polo GTI sporting ABS brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution along with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and Electronic Differential Lock (EDL).
The paintwork on our Polo GTI test car for those interested, is called ‘Flash Red’ one of just two flat colours in the range of five on offer although, Black Magic or Reflex Silver, are by far the stand out paint jobs for this model.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: 4/5
How does it Drive: 4.5
How does it Look: 3.5
How does it Go: 4.5
• Engine: 1781cc four cylinder inline petrol
• Power: 220kW @ 1950rpm
• Torque: 110Nm @ 5800rpm
• Induction: Turbocharger
• Transmission: Five-speed manual
• Driven Wheels: Front
• Brakes: Front ventilated discs/rear sold discs, ABS with EBD
• Top Speed: 216km/h
• 0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds
• CO2 Emission: 190g/km
• Fuel Consumption: 7.9 litres per 100km
• Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
• Fuel Type: 98RON petrol
• ANCAP Rating: Four star
• Airbags: Dual front and side, curtain airbags front and rear
• Spare Wheel: Full size alloy
• Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
• Warranty: Three-year/100,000km
• Weight: 1190 kg (Tare)
• Wheels: Alloy 16 x 6.5-inch with 205/45 R16 tyres