Volkswagen Polo R WRC fastest yet
It is called Polo R WRC because its development is tied to that of the new Volkswagen Polo WRC car for the World Rally Championship. The front-drive production car has 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine – enough to reach 62mph from rest in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 151mph.
Just 2500 will be made worldwide – all in left-hand drive – and will cost around €33,000 (£26,500). Volkswagen UK has no official plans to sell the car, although sources admit that personal orders might be considered if demand is sufficient.
The Polo R WRC gets chunky alloys, VW's official competition colours and subtle WRC branding (mainly a badge on the boot and logos stitched into the sports seats). However, it does without a wider bodykit like the competition car's, or four-wheel drive.
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, VW's board member for development, told What Car? that the Polo R WRC is the planned limit for the current Polo. He said: 'We are making 2500 of these because there are some ways in which it can help with homologation of the final competition car.
'We have no plans to introduce a wider one, or a four-wheel-drive version. This is the fastest the Polo will be; I drove it last week in South America at 250kmh (155mph) and I was very impressed.'
Hackenberg also revealed that the Polo is the ideal choice for VW as a competition car because it is 'halfway through its life' – meaning that the next version should turn up in around 2015.
One possible development for the next Polo (likely to be based on a shortened version of the MQB chassis that underpins the latest Golf) could be to incorporate a hot four-wheel-drive variant.
By John McIlroy