In news for traditional hot hatch enthusiasts, Volkswagen Australia will not offer a manual gearbox on the brand new Polo GTI, due in August — though it will become available overseas, should the company’s local arm change its mind.
Citing a lack of market demand for three-pedal cars in our market, the company will instead offer its new entry grade pocket rocket solely with a DSG and paddles — just like the outgoing model before it received a mid-life upgrade in 2015.
We were told of this decision by Volkswagen Australia staffers today.
Sales figures show that about 30 per cent of people who’ve bought the outgoing Polo GTI over the past years, since the manual option arrived, have chosen this gearbox type. But the company reckons that’s more because of its 70Nm torque advantage over the DSG (320Nm v 250Nm from a 1.8 turbo).
Contrasting with this, the 2.0-litre turbo Polo GTI in new generation form gets the same 147kW/320Nm outputs with both gearbox options thanks to a stronger DSG, spelling the end for the manual here.
At least, unless overwhelming market demand changes VGA’s mind, at which point its parent in Germany will send some our way, as it will for the UK from later this year, according to UK press sources.
Strengthening the case of VGA’s product planners to go DSG only, is the fact that just 10 per cent of all Golf GTI and Golf R models sold here have manuals fitted, with even the ‘purist focused’ GTI Original three-door overwhelmingly sold with the extra-cost DSG.
It’s no surprise that fewer Australians are keen to shift their own gears, but if ever a vehicle suited a manual, it’d surely be a hot hatch like this, right?
Well, Volkswagen isn’t on its own. Former manual-focused Renault doesn’t make its Clio R.S with anything other than an EDC dual-clutch auto any more, though its new Megane R.S will come with a manual or auto.
The Mk6 Polo GTI will in fairness be a dead set rocket with either ‘box. Zero to 100km/h in 6.7sec, in fact. That power figure matches the Mk5 Golf GTI, and the torque is 40Nm higher. Expect pricing to kick off at about $30k.