2015 VW Polo GTI Facelift makes its debut with all-new 1.8-liter TSI engine

Article by Christian A., on September 18, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI Facelift the new hot hatch that will make its world debut next month at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. As you can easily see from the photos, the vehicle shows a new design consisting of a new front bumper, redesigned headlights, the well-known honeycomb grille featuring red accents, a new rear bumper as well as a new dual exhaust system.

Inside, there is a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sports seats, red stitching and gloss black accents. The biggest change is found under the hood where the 1.4-liter TSI engine was replaced by a much bigger 1.8-liter TSI petrol engine that delivers 192 hp (141 kW) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.

With the new engine, the 2015 Polo GTI Facelift accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.7 seconds, while top speed is limited at 236 km/h or 148 mph. The engine is offered with a six-speed manual transmission or with the optional DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

For those who don’t know, the previous model was offered exclusively with the seven-speed DSG transmission, which is now offered as an option.

Exterior Design

For the first time, the new Polo GTI could be specified with LED headlights for the dipped and main beams, as well as LED daytime running lights. The Polo GTI could be identified through the red strip that frames the radiator grille featuring a GTI honeycomb structure, and continues into the headlights. The new Polo GTI now sports a larger, lower air intake with a newly designed honeycomb grille. This intake is bordered by fog lights, cornering lights and splitters – the ones employed in motor sports. The new Polo GTI comes standard with front and rear ParkPilot, a headlight cleaning system and heated windscreen washer nozzles.

Thanks to their detailed avant-garde design, construction and prominent reflectors, its LED dual headlights make the new Polo GTI unmistakable even from afar. Compared to xenon units, these LED headlights emit a light that is whiter, more similar to daylight, less straining to the eyes.

The new Polo GTI is gifted with distinctively sporty silhouette and rear section. When viewed from the sides, the new Polo GTI reveals distinctively flared door sills, new 17-inch alloy wheels in GTI styling, and red brake calipers (through the rims). When viewed from the rear, VW’s latest creation exposes a GTI roof spoiler, tail light clusters in 'Dark Red', prominent roof antenna, a black grained diffuser and chrome dual exhaust tailpipes. The GTI lettering is found not just on the rear end of the car, but also on its radiator grille and wings.

Customers could have the exterior of the new Polo GTI finished in any of seven available colors: Black, Blue Silk, Deep Black, Flash Red, Oryx White, Pure White and Reflex Silver.

Interior Design

Inside, the new Polo GTI features newly "mixed" GTI insignias. These include the characteristic 'Clark' tartan pattern on the upholstery of the sports seats on the front and on the rear seats. The cabin of the new Polo also comes with a wide array of improvements as found in the latest updated versions of the series. For instance, the Polo GTI is provided with a new instrument cluster with a three-dimensional tubular look and GTI styling.

Likewise, the redesigned center console now boasts of a redesigned layout. A control panel beneath the air vents now features nine buttons, instead of seven. These buttons, including the hazard lights switch, are located in the middle, making them easier to reach.

The interior of the new Polo GTI also dons optimized controls -- arranged below the infotainment system -- for the standard air conditioning system, which could be replaced by the optionally available Climatronic automatic climate control. The new Polo GTI features chrome accents on the door trim panels, around the gear shift console and the air vents, as well as a new generation of infotainment systems.

Press Release

2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The new Volkswagen Polo GTI is clearly recognisable as the sporty flagship of the series, both in the 2-door and the 4-door version. Newly designed bumpers and typical GTI insignia such as distinctive wheels and the red strips in the radiator grille and the H7 headlights or optional LED headlights give the car a dynamic appearance. The Polo GTI is also equipped with sports suspension as standard, lowering its stance on the road by 15 mm. With an exterior length of 3,983 mm and a width of 1,682 mm (1,901 mm including wing mirrors) the Polo (height: 1,450 mm) is one of the most compact sports cars on the market.

The GTI front section

The Polo GTI is available for the first time with LED headlights (dipped and main beam), and daytime running lights also provided by LEDs. Hallmarks of the Polo GTI include the red strip framing the radiator grille with its characteristic GTI honeycomb structure; in the new GTI this strip continues into the headlights. The lower, much bigger air intake has also acquired a newly designed honeycomb grille and is framed at each side by fog lights as standard (including cornering lights) and splitters, the kind of spoilers used in motor sports. Standard equipment for the GTI also includes front and rear ParkPilot, heated windscreen washer nozzles and a headlight cleaning system.

LED headlights

These LED dual headlights, with their highly detailed avant-garde design, are unmistakable - even from a distance - due to their construction and prominent reflectors. The light of the LED headlights is even whiter and more similar to daylight than that of xenon headlights, and it is less straining to the eyes of drivers while driving at dawn or dusk or at night.

The GTI silhouette and rear section

The silhouette and the rear also boast sporty design features. The door sills are distinctively flared, adding further to the Polo GTI's sporty appeal, along with the new alloy wheels with GTI styling (size: 7.5J x 17) through which the gleaming red brake callipers are visible. At the rear, the GTI roof spoiler, prominent roof antenna, tail light clusters in 'Dark Red', the black grained diffuser and the chrome dual exhaust tailpipes located on the left of the vehicle all continue the sporty theme. Last but by no means least comes the GTI lettering, which takes its proper place at the rear, in the radiator grille and on the wings of this Polo.

GTI colours

The new Polo GTI is available in a choice of seven colours - 'Pure White', 'Flash Red' and 'Black' monochrome finishes, the metallic 'Reflex Silver', 'Deep Black', and 'Blue Silk', plus the mother of pearl effect 'Oryx White'.

Interior design and features

The interior of the new Polo GTI is characterised by the newly "mixed" GTI insignias, including the distinctive 'Clark' tartan pattern of the upholstery of the top-class sports seats (in the front) and the rear seat system, and also features a large number of general improvements which are appearing in the series in their latest updated versions. These include the new instrument cluster with its 3D tubular look (with GTI styling) and the redesigned layout of the controls on the redesigned centre console. On the upper control level, just beneath the air vents, is a control panel that has been expanded from seven to nine buttons; positioned in the middle and easy to reach, for instance, is the hazard lights switch. The interior specialists have also optimised the controls for the air conditioning system that is standard in the Polo GTI (optionally 'Climatronic' automatic climate control). They are arranged below the infotainment system. Chrome accents on the door trim panels, the air vents and around the gear shift console round off the sophisticated ambience. And the Polo GTI also features a completely new generation of infotainment systems.

Characteristic GTI insignias

GTI red accentuates the sporty design of the interior, too. The leather sports steering wheel, adapted from the Golf GTI, has contrasting red stitching, as do the gear lever and handbrake lever; the floor mats also feature borders with red beading. Driver and passenger sit on top-class height-adjustable heated sports seats with centre panels upholstered in exclusive sports-style 'Clark' cloth as mentioned above (the outer sections are in 'Black' and also have contrasting red stitching); sports seats with a tartan design have been a standard feature of this icon of high performance since the launch of the very first GTI in 1976. The front centre armrest with storage compartment, the instrument cluster with GTI design, black headliner and aluminium-look pedal caps complete the dynamic and exclusive interior ambience. Polo GTI seats can also be ordered in an 'Alcantara / leather look' version as an option. As far as functionality is concerned, the extended range of standard equipment also includes footwell lighting, a sound actuator, Driver Alert System, multifunction display 'Plus', and the 'Composition Touch' infotainment system.

Dynamics and everyday practicality

The Polo GTI has not acquired its exceptional dynamics at the expense of everyday practicality. In fact, the opposite is true. On the inside, the car has clarity, an ergonomic design and is very versatile. The 2-door version of the Polo GTI comes with the 'Easy Entry' function, which allows the front seats to be moved forward in one easy movement then returned to their original position. The Polo GTI is also optionally available with four doors, making access to the rear even easier. In both versions of this 5-seater, the rear seat bench is split 60-40 and the backrests can be folded down. With five people on board, the Polo GTI offers a load capacity of 204 litres; with the rear seat bench folded down the luggage compartment extends up to 882 litres.

Progressive infotainment world

The Polo GTI's radio and radio-navigation systems have been re-conceptualised; representing the second generation of the modular infotainment system (MIB), they reflect state-of-the-art technology. Depending on the version, the systems offer functions such as Bluetooth audio streaming (with a smartphone, including cover display and touchscreen control), a proximity sensor (other menu details are shown when hand approaches the screen), two-finger map zooming in navigation mode (as on a smartphone) and connection of the smartphone to the exterior antenna via the wireless 'Comfort' mobile phone interface. DAB+ digital radio can be added to all four systems - 'Composition Touch' (standard with the Polo GTI), 'Composition Colour', 'Composition Media' and 'Discover Media'. In addition, special smart phone apps can be accessed on the touchscreen via MirrorLink™.

MirrorLink™ brings apps aboard

MirrorLink™ is offered as an option in conjunction with the 'Composition Media' and 'Discover Media' infotainment systems in the Polo GTI. This makes it possible to display and control the contents and functions shown on compatible Android smart phone on the touchscreen of the Polo infotainment system. To avoid distracting the driver, only specially configured apps are accessible while driving. For example, Volkswagen offers apps which can access vehicle data such as engine speed, car speed and the fuel tank level, in addition to geo-coordinates from the navigation unit. Apps may also be used that are not directly related to vehicle operation, such as internet radio and news services, provided that they support MirrorLink™. To improve reception quality and at the same time reduce radiated emissions from the mobile phone, the smart phone may be wirelessly connected to the exterior antenna of the Polo GTI - via the 'Comfort' mobile phone interface. Simply place the phone in a storage compartment located in the centre console. The phone is charged via a USB connector.

Engine and gearbox

The dynamic heart of the Polo GTI is a newly developed four-cylinder EA888 engine. The 2.0 litre version of this engine family is used to power the Golf GTI and other vehicles. The new Polo GTI is equipped with the third generation EA888 with a displacement of 1,798 cm3. The turbocharged direct injection petrol engine develops 141 kW / 192 PS of power. The 1.8 TSI provides this peak at between 4,200 and 6,200 rpm (6-speed manual version); for the 7-speed DSG the range is from 5,400 to 6,200 rpm. These variations are due to technical differences in the design parameters of the gearboxes. The same applies to the torque values: the DSG variant delivers a maximum torque of 250 Nm between 1,250 and 5,300 rpm whereas the figures for the manual gearbox version are 320 Nm between 1,450 and 4,200 rpm. However, the differences in torque have no effect on the vehicle's performance figures (top speed and acceleration from 0-100 km/h). Having said that, the manual version does pull away slightly more briskly, while the DSG version's fuel consumption is even lower.

Direct and manifold injection

Whatever the transmission and associated maximum torque, the 1.8 TSI is a high-tech engine. A variety of new technologies have found their way into this third generation of the engine, including the water-cooled exhaust gas routing to the turbocharger, which has been fully integrated into the cylinder head. This water-cooled integrated exhaust manifold makes a crucial contribution towards improving fuel consumption at full load. In addition, the TSI has variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment. In addition, valve lift on the exhaust side can be switched in two stages. This enables optimal control of the charge exchange process for better performance, fuel economy and lower emissions. The four-cylinder engine also features a dual high-pressure injection system (200 bar) with direct and manifold injection. The freely selectable injection type results in lower particle emissions and also reduces fuel consumption in broad performance ranges.

Intelligent thermal management

A further highlight is the first use of a newly developed rotary-slide control in this engine for implementing an intelligent thermal management system: for example, it is now possible to completely block the intake of coolant into the engine during the warm-up phase of the 1.8 TSI, or reduce it to a minimum, in order to get the engine up to operating temperature more quickly. Once the engine is running at normal temperature there is fully variable control of the coolant temperature, which can be quickly adjusted to the ideal level for the engine depending on the engine load and external conditions.

New turbocharger, less weight

It has also been possible to reduce the weight of the engine, which has a new single-scroll turbocharger. A large portion of the savings came from the new thin-wall crankcase (3 mm thick), a weight-optimised crankshaft, the integrated exhaust manifold, a plastic oil pan and the use of aluminium screws. Total reduction: 5.4 kg.

Efficient agility

All these measures paint an impressive picture together: the basic revision of all function groups including the reduction of internal friction makes the 1.8 TSI in the Polo GTI one of the most efficient and agile engines in its class. As with all the latest generation Polo, the GTI complies with the EU6 emission standard. Sustainability is the watchword where consumption and emissions figures are concerned: 5.6 l/100 km (equivalent to 129 g/km CO2) in conjunction with the 7-speed DSG, and 6.0 litres (139 g/km CO2) with the 6-speed manual variant. But the car's performance figures still speak for themselves: with either transmission variant the Polo GTI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds. Both versions have a top speed of 236 km/h.


The new Polo GTI is supplied as standard with a well graduated 6-speed gearbox that offers good shifting accuracy. A 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is also optionally available for maximum levels of efficiency, dynamics and comfort. The automatic transmission was specially configured to the 192 PS GTI engine across a variety of individual parameters, characteristic curves and engine mappings.

Chassis and assistance systems

The Polo GTI's completely retuned sports suspension ensures exceptionally agile and secure handling. The technical basis for this comes from a set-up with a McPherson-type front axle and a torsion beam axle for the rear wheels. The chassis of the GTI is 10 mm lower at the front and 15 mm lower at the rear compared with the less powerful Polo models. The chassis engineers succeeded in reducing roll to a minimum in the exceptionally agile and responsive Polo GTI. One of the factors responsible for this is the stronger anti-roll bar on the front axle. Replacing the 7-inch with 7.5-inch wide alloy wheels has also contributed to the improved handling; the newly designed 17-inch wheels come with 215/40 tyres. The vehicle's handling is further refined through the addition of a new steering system. The Polo also has ESC (electronic stabilisation control) on board as standard, of course. Tyre pressure is monitored by the Tyre Monitoring Indicator (TMI), also included as standard. Safety on board the new Polo GTI is further enhanced by the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and the Driver Alert System, both of which are also standard equipment.

Electro-mechanical steering

For the first time the Polo GTI is available with electromechanical power steering, with characteristics configured to the dynamics of the top model in the series. The compact system has been integrated directly into the steering column. The new Polo steering system is distinguished by its very precise and agile response and steering properties, and it decouples roadway bumps very well. The steering moment applied by the driver is amplified by an electric motor, which delivers its torque to the steering column via a worm gear.

'Sport Select' suspension including 'Sport Performance Kit'

For the first time, Volkswagen is offering electronically adjustable dampers in the Polo GTI. These form the core technology basis of the new, optional 'Sport Select' suspension, which for the GTI is only available in conjunction with the 'Sport Performance Kit'. The basic tuning of this suspension is already sporty, but more comfortable than a conventional sports suspension. When the driver presses the 'Sport' button (in the upper area of the centre console) this activates an electro-mechanical switching valve in the dampers which alters their tuning from this sporty yet comfort-oriented basic setting to the stiffer characteristic of a true sports suspension. In addition, the 'Sport Performance Kit' lends the new electromechanical power steering an even sportier characteristic. The same is true for the accelerator pedal response. At the same time, the engine noise heard inside the car also changes due to the sound actuator. And finally, if the new Polo GTI is equipped with the 7-speed DSG, the transmission changes automatically from D to S mode.


The Polo GTI is equipped with a fade resistant 16-inch brake system. The front wheels have ventilated brake discs with a diameter of 310 mm, and at the back 230 mm discs are used. The red brake callipers are a characteristic feature of the GTI.

ESC Sport

As mentioned above, the Polo GTI is equipped with ESC, the electronic stability control system, as standard. This can be adapted for use on the racetrack. It works like this: pressing the ESC button briefly switches off traction control (ASR), whereas pressing the button for more than three seconds activates the ESC Sport mode. This raises the ESC control threshold; delaying the intervention of ESC has particular advantages where handling on the racetrack is concerned. With XDS+ remaining in active mode it is possible to achieve outstanding racetrack performances, even with a very sporty driving style. In the appropriate menu in the infotainment system, the driver has the option of directly selecting the ESC modes 'ASR off' and 'ESC Sport'. Other components of ESC are the anti-lock braking system (ABS), Hill Hold Assist, engine drag torque control (MSR), electronic differential lock (EDL) and, as outlined, the vehicle dynamics function XDS+ that is new in the Polo GTI. Combined with a chassis that is as neutral as it is sporty, and the new, precise electromechanical power steering, these electronic systems provide a high degree of active safety without compromising driving dynamics.


Technically, the XDS+ electronic differential lock is a functionality that is integrated in the electronic stabilisation programme (ESC) for improved vehicle dynamics. This system, a refinement of the XDS first installed in the larger Golf, increases agility, using brake interventions on the inside wheels on both axles when cornering to reduce the required steering angle. In addition, XDS+ is effective over all conceivable road friction values, resulting in more precise handling, even on snow. The familiar properties of XDS - such as significantly reduced understeer and improved traction - have also been further refined.

Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

A technological highlight of the new Polo GTI is the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. After a collision, it automatically brakes the vehicle to avoid secondary collisions or reduce their severity. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is triggered when a primary collision has been detected. It assures controlled handling of the car by the driver, even in case of automatic braking. The driver can "override" the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System at any time, for example by noticeably accelerating. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking with greater deceleration than the system deceleration.

Driver Alert System

The Driver Alert System also comes as standard in the Polo GTI. It detects falls in the driver's concentration levels and outputs an acoustic warning for a duration of five seconds, and a message appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break from driving. If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated once.

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Topics: vw, vw polo, gti, facelift



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