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by David Zalstein

The new Volkswagen Polo GTI will launch locally in 2015, but its keynote adjustable suspension will not be made available, at least initially.

Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice ahead of our first drive of the new 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI this week, Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling said the local division is not planning on offering the adjustable ‘Sport Select’ suspension come the model’s second-quarter Australian launch.

“There’s a lot of equipment that’s available with the new [Polo] GTI and obviously we offer what we think is appropriate for the vehicle in our market and we have planned to release the GTI with a great level of standard equipment plus some option packs – as we have done with the regular Polo – and there’s only so much we can package up,” Gehling said.

2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI_02

A first-time addition debuting on the fourth-generation Polo GTI, the new electronically adjustable dampers are optional equipment in overseas markets (commanding a yet-to-be confirmed 285 euro) and are exclusively teamed with a ‘Sport Performance Kit’ – effectively a ‘Sport’ mode button that stiffens suspension along with impacting steering weight, throttle response and the car’s sound actuator system.

Asked if ‘Sport Select’ could be added to the sports model at a later stage, Gehling said, “It’s always a possibility”.

“I mean never say never for any feature. Costs locally would depend as it would ideally be packaged along with other features rather than as a singular option.

2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI_11

“It’s more about whether we see that there’s a demand for it in that segment. It’s not something that is offered, as far as I’m aware, in any of the other models in that segment either.”

As yet, the ‘Sport Performance Kit’ too remains off any Australian specification equipment list.

On a more positive note, the local PR head also said the German car maker’s decision to reintroduce a manual transmission into the light performance hatchback was based on buyer feedback.

Backing up comments made by a Volkswagen executive back in April, Gehling said, “[It was] simply the customer demand.”

2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI_05

“Of all of our model range, performance variants have the highest uptake on a manual and when we launched (third-generation) Polo GTI it was only offered as a DSG and now we’ve got the option of both and clearly, if we have the option, we’ll make it available where we see it’s appropriate”.

Defending Volkswagen’s switch from the five-speed-manual-only second-gen GTI to the seven-speed DSG unit exclusively available on the outgoing GTI, Gehling said the move has proved inarguably successful, with the third-gen GTI being the brand’s most successful to date.

Still expecting DSGs to make up the majority of sales on the new Polo GTI, Gehling said, “It’s always interesting to see how much demand there is. But we think there is clearly an additional opportunity with a manual.”

Powered by a 141kW/320Nm (in six-speed manual trim) turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, the 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI is tipped to start at around $1540 less than the outgoing $29,540 GTI, with DSG adding $2500.

CarAdvice is in Spain this week at the international launch of the new baby hot-hatch, so stay tuned for the review…




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