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VOLKSWAGEN POLO 1.0 TSI R-LINE

When a manufacturer is riding the crest of the wave with some excellent models in its stable, and sales are at a high, the white coats often put on their thinking caps to bring even more innovation to maintain their bestselling position. BERNARD HELLBERG SR attended the introduction of VW’s 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the Polo.

In the case of Volkswagen’s popular Polo (2,462 sold in February 2017) there was little room for improvement to an already brilliant design, apart from adding some R-line visuals such as the logo on the radiator grille, front and rear bumpers, sill extensions, and a sporty rear diffuser to compliment the rear spoiler in body colour. Oh, and don’t forget the special 17″ alloy wheels.

PINT-SIZED POWER

The main attraction of the Polo, however, is the exciting new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 81 kW and loads a seemingly endless torque figure of 200 Nm from 2,000 r/min right through to 3,500 r/min. A mere decade ago, it would have been impossible to believe that a relatively tiny engine (many motorcycles have larger engines) would have such tremendous power outputs with performance results to match.

Consider a 0-100 km/h time of fewer than ten seconds (9.3), and a top speed of 197 km/h and one is left duly impressed by the sheer technological excellence of this power unit.

However, as the world of advertising is fond of saying, there’s more, and this more is evident in the claimed fuel consumption figures of 4.4 litres/100 km – aided by BlueMotion technology with stop/start and battery regeneration systems.

Getting the power that is produced by this three-cylinder unit to the front wheels takes place via Volkswagen’s clinically brilliant 7-speed DSG transmission, which offers almost imperceptibly smooth shifts both up and down the gear range.

BUT WILL IT LAST

When longevity and reliability around this new engine enter the discussion, one need only refer to the 3-year/120,000 km warranty, and the 3-year/45,000 km service plan, both of which rightfully indicate Volkswagen’s confidence in their engineering.

DIESEL ENGINES FOR TIGUAN

Volkswagen used the opportunity  to showcase four new engines for their increasingly popular Tiguan range. These include three new diesel engines – including a 2.0-litre TDI – with outputs ranging from 81 kW to 130 kW, and a range-topping 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine that produces a delectable 162 kW. All these models are offered with an improved 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system.

For many prospective Tiguan customers, all-wheel-drive is a key feature, since it enhances the vehicles’ off-road capabilities – offering better grip under adverse weather conditions and on rough roads. Ground clearance has also been raised to 201 mm, and the new Tiguan has been engineered to take care of 2,200 kg trailers – depending on engine and gearbox choice.

LAST WORD

By showcasing their new engine range, VW has once again demonstrated their technological leadership, which seamlessly blends performance with excellent fuel economy.

Report by BERNARD HELLBERG SR | Image by QUICKPIC

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