Volkswagen Polo R WRC fastest yet

* Rally-themed Polo will be fastest version of supermini * Not on sale in UK... * ... but personal orders might be considered...

Volkswagen Polo R WRC fastest yet

The new VW Polo R WRC has the 'maximum performance planned' for the supermini in its current guise, VW's development boss has told What Car?.

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