The Polo 1.2 GT TSI is VW`s answer to the performance cravings of a hatch buyer. Of course, the Polo came with the 1.6 engine earlier, but didn`t do very encouraging numbers, sales wise. VW have cleverly integrated the elements of Turbo charging and Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) and coupled it with the brilliant 7 speed Twin clutch transmission, the DSG in the form of the Polo GT TSI.
While we have raved about the DSG and the TSI motor in the past. The GT TSI rightly fills up the void of a “hot hatch” which has been left after the demise of the Fiat Palio 1.6 GTX and the S10. The American philosophy of big capacity equals big power has been dismissed by the advent of German tech, small is no longer a crawl!
This 4 cylinder 1.2 litre mill churns out 103 bhp @ 5000 rpm and 175 Nm of torque between 1500-4100 rpms. While the power figure is acceptable, what should surprise you is the peak torque which is at your disposal right from few hundreds of revs above idle! Sadly, the exteriors of the TSI aren’t much different from the other variants of Polo on sale apart from a GT TSI sticker on the C pillar, the GT badging on the front grill and the individual GT-TSI badging on the tail gate. That apart, the TSI comes with 15” Estrada alloys while the headlamps get the black finish. The interiors of the TSI are similar to the Cross Polo we reviewed earlier.
So talking about the drive experience, the Polo takes it a step further. While the sedan version of the Polo, the Vento tips scales at 1220 kgs, the Polo does so at 1140 kgs and as we know, lower weight equals more fun! Fire up the small 1197cc turbo charged unit, and it settles into a highly refined idle. Upon shifting into D and releasing the brake the TSI starts coasting effortlessly and will upshift anywhere around 2500 rpms depending upon the load and throttle position.
Such is the brilliance of the DSG`s mechatronics that it is seldom found in a confused state with respect to the gear selection and a generous spread of 7 ratios only helps its case. The D mode remains most efficient as well as user friendly and with the beefed up clutch (keeping in mind Indian traffic conditions) ambling around the city or even chugging along in crawling traffic makes it a breeze.
Drive with a light foot and the DSG quickly upshifts and one shouldn`t be surprised to see the engine spinning at 1500 rpm and the MFD reading 6th gear at 60 kph! Mash the accelerator pedal and DSG quickly drops up to 2 cogs and lunges forward as the TSI motor unleashes its horses in a flurry. Living with the D mode, hence is never boringly dull whatsoever.
If the D mode is still slow for you, stick the DSG into the S mode where the basic instruction for the DSG is to upshift just short of the rpm redlines. That’s not all, the DSG also down shifts enthusiastically to keep the motor on the boil at all times. In the S mode the TSI dispatches 0-100 in sub 11 seconds given a clear stretch the speedometer can read up to 190 kmph.
The M or the Manual mode, as the name suggests – lets you swap gear ratios manually with the fore and aft movement of the gear selector lever and the DSG will intervene if you try to drive in unacceptably higher gear rations at low rpms or vice versa and this is an important inclusion considering the stratospheric repair costs associated with the complex DSG mechanism. As in the Vento TSI, the Manual mode would have been really involving and enjoyable with paddle shifters which neither of the cars is equipped with and this mode remained unused most of the time throughout the test.
Owing to the turbo charging and direct fuel injection, high torque output at lower engine speeds results in effortless in-gear acceleration with 30-70kmph taking under 3 seconds which is impressive. So while the power has been taken care of, the small displacement of the engine also helps in the fuel economy department. While VW claims 17.2 kmpl as the ARAI tested figure, in real world driving we TSI returned close to 11kmpl within the city and 14 kmpl on the highway. These figures coupled with the term “hot hatch” make the car quite irresistible.
There are however, a few bits which spoil the party marginally and the small list is topped by the brakes. The slightly spongy feel of the brake pedal also exhibits lack of initial bite and signs of brake fade are evident upon some spirited driving. The brakes on the TSI are merely adequate considering the performance which the TSI motor is capable of belting out. Good news is that, the TSI also comes equipped with electronic driver aids such as the ESP (can be switched off manually) and ABS with EBD. The TSI also lacks any extra visual flair which would set it apart from the other variants offered by VW. We have loved and discussed the handling of VW cars in the past and the TSI is no different.
The TSI costs Rs 8.56 lakhs ex-showroom in Mumbai and comes with most of the bells and whistles along with boy racer genes and fuel efficient engine. Considering the lack of any direct rivals, the TSI remains the much sought after hot hatch on sale in the currently at the moment. While the DSG is the prime reason to drive the cost of the car up, if offered in a MT version it could possibly be an attractive proposition to many petrol heads. If you have the cash, the TSI easily remains the most desirable hatch on the market right now!
Images of the Polo 1.2 TSI interior
VW Polo 1.2 TSI Image Gallery