2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI – Click above for high-res image

The Volkswagen Polo piques our interest in every form it takes. A few days ago we told you about the Polo R and how much we wished VW would bring it stateside. And then there's the deliciously efficient Polo TDI that gets somewhere between 62 and 74 miles per gallon, depending on who and when and where you ask. Obviously, we'd love to get our hands on one regardless. And wedged in between the knock-your-socks-off R and fatten-your-wallet TDI models is the Polo that wears the original hot hatch badge but still won't hurt you at the pump: the Polo GTI.

Equipped with a 1.4-liter TSI engine and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG), the 177-horsepower Polo GTI offers combined fuel consumption of 40 mpg U.S. (on the European cycle). The Polo GTI that preceded it carried VW's staple-of-the-last-decade 1.8-liter turbo engine but only netted 30 mpg. The new Polo gets 33 percent more miles per gallon without sacrificing any of the fun that makes it a GTI – 0-60 is accomplished in 6.9 seconds and taking it to the far side of the speedo will have you cruising at a jail-worthy 142 miles per hour.

The GTI line has always been as much about crisp handling as straight-line zip. The Polo GTI is no exception. VW dropped the suspension a little over half an inch and equipped it with an electronic transverse differential lock (XDS) that reduces the dreaded understeer issue associated with all souped-up front-wheel-drive cars, making the knuckles a little less white when negotiating the twisties. At this point, Volkswagen, we'd take any Polo you want to send over. But you've teased us many times before so we won't hold our breath.




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