After years of waiting
, Volkswagen has finally added a high-performance ‘R’ variant to its Polo subcompact range, but instead of launching it as a standalone model the new hot hatch’s arrival coincides with the automaker’s 2013 entry into the World Rally Championship (WRC).
In fact, VW calls its new Polo R a road-going version of its rally car and has even attached the WRC acronym to its title.
Unlike the rally car on which it’s based
(pictured below), which sports a 1.6-liter turbo four, the new Polo R WRC road car gets a bigger 2.0-liter engine, which is also turbocharged and delivers 220 horsepower. The engine is matched to a six-speed manual transmission and drive only goes to the front wheels.
VW boasts the car is good for 0-60 mph acceleration in around 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 151 mph, which means it almost matches the performance of its bigger brother, the Golf R
Onlookers will easily spot the Polo R WRC by its blue and gray livery, designed to mimic the look of the rally car. There’s also a fully functional body kit consisting of a lowered front spoiler with enlarged intakes, a roof mounted spoiler at the rear and a diffuser in the rear bumper.
Continuing the performance theme, the Polo R WRC gets lowered suspension, 18-inch ‘Cagliari’ wheels and massive 16-inch disc brakes gripped by bright blue calipers.
Inside, owners will find sporty bucket seats up front lined with Alcantara and embossed with WRC logos. Designers have also added contrasting blue stitching and a sports steering wheel, also lined with grippy Alcantara.
Sales are to commence in Europe in September, 2013, and only 2,500 examples will be built.
Sadly, with the Polo ruled out for U.S. sale, the new Polo R WRC will have to remain forbidden fruit for the foreseeable future. And with all 2,500 examples being built in left-hand drive, it means right-hand drive markets miss out as well.