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VW Polo GTI Acceleration Comparison: Is the New 1.8 TSI Faster than the 1.4 TSI?

Obviously, the Polo GTI is not such a big deal, not even in the context of the Volkswagen family. For the same money you pay for one of these things, most folks tend to opt for a cheap Leon Cupra FR with a 1.8 TSI engine or a second-hand Golf 7 GTI, which you can pick up for around €20,000 in good condition.
2015 Polo GTI 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
The Polo GTI is by no means a benchmark setter. While Renault's Clio RS 220 Trophy just lapped the Nurburgring in 8 minutes and 23 seconds, the VW would probably take around 8:50. It also fails to impress with its extreme build quality like the Golf does, while lacking the curb appeal of a MINI.

But you can stuff the Polo GTI with every type of feature imaginable and for 2015, it's a lot better. Volkswagen pulled the old 1.4-liter engine out of production because it had reliability issues and didn't comply with the Euro 6 regulation. In its place, we got a 1.8-liter with a bit of tuning.

It's the same engine you can buy on the Octavia, Leon and Golf, but the output has been bumped from 180 to 192 PS with similar torque gains. Crucially, you can now get it with a normal 6-speed manual gearbox.

Now, most performance cars are much faster with an automatic. But that's not the case here, as the Getrag 7-speed DSG fitted here is not designed for sporty launches. Unless you absolutely must have the comfort of an automatic, we wouldn't recommend the DSG option because it lowers the torque output and makes the car heavier.

We've often wondered how much faster the Polo GTI has become thanks to its bigger engine. On paper, the 12 extra horsepower only dropped the 0 to 100 km/h time by 0.2 seconds, but the difference is greater in the real world.

The first video below is of a 2015 model with the 1.8 turbo and a manual gearbox. It gets from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.63 seconds, and that's faster than the officially claimed numbers. On the other hand, the second video shows how the Polo with the old 1.4-liter engine that's turbocharged and supercharged needs 7.13 seconds.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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