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Volkswagen readies all-paw Polo R

Set to roll: The R WRC Street concept shown in Worthersee previews a new hot production Volkswagen Polo.

All-wheel drive VW Polo R could debut alongside Audi S1 quattro at Geneva show

Volkswagen logo23 Jan 2014

VOLKSWAGEN could be ready to unleash the hottest version of its Polo city car to date, with reports that an all-wheel drive hardcore R variant is in the works.

As we know, the German car-maker’s sister company Audi is developing its own entry-level hot-hatch in the form of the A1-based S1 quattro, which will potentially debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

The regular Polo and A1 are built on the essentially same platform, theoretically allowing the Volkswagen Group to reduce costs and add scale by applying the AWD drivetrain to a second model line beyond the Audi offering.

VW launched the front-wheel drive Polo R WRC performance flagship in Europe early last year to celebrate the company’s entry into the World Rally Championship, but it was a strictly limited variant with just 2500 examples produced.

UK publication AutoCar is reporting that the success of the Sebastian Ogier-led Polo WRC team over the past 12 months has also influenced VW’s decision to bring forward development and production of the AWD Polo R.

Powertrain details remain scarce, but some reports are suggesting the Polo R could end up with the 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine found under the bonnet of the bigger Mk7 Golf GTI.

Sister brand Audi released a limited edition left-hand drive-only A1 quattro in 2012 that was powered by the 188kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine sourced from the S3 and Volkswagen Mk6 Golf R, but it is unclear whether the Polo R will use this engine.

While the A1 quattro was manual-only, VW will likely pair the all-wheel drive Polo R with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and AutoCar is reporting a sub six-second zero to 100km sprint time.

If the Polo R comes to fruition as predicted, it could debut as early as the Geneva motor show in March at the same time as the facelifted Polo range.

There is no discussion of production at this stage, but given Australia’s voracious appetite for turbocharged hot-hatches it would be a welcome addition to Volkswagen’s local line-up.

If it did get the green light for Australia, it would be positioned above the 132kW/250Nm 1.4-litre Polo GTI that retails for $29,190 plus on-road costs but potentially below the Golf GTI that kicks off from $41,490.

Meanwhile, Auto Express is reporting that Volkswagen will rip the covers off a hardcore, lightweight version of the Golf – said to be dubbed the Golf R Evo – at the Beijing motor show in April.

Volkswagen has reportedly shaved kilos off the Golf R by replacing the rear seats with a roll cage, using thinner bucket seats and lighter alloys as well as extensive use of carbon-fibre materials.

A small boost in power is expected thanks to the weight loss as well as some mechanical tweaking.

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