Volkswagen continues to tempt – and frustrate – the growing number of American buyers who are migrating to the downsized B-segment, which has been flooded with a growing list of offerings from makers as diverse as Ford, Mini and Fiat, among others.
For now, the German maker says, U.S. buyers won’t be able to get their hands on the new 2015 Volkswagen Polo set to go on sale in Europe by mid-year, but that won’t stop fans from hoping that VW planners soon see the error of their ways. And with a production version of the high-performance Polo R prototype reportedly set to make its own debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, VW could hear even more calls to rethink its decision.
The 2015 model is more facelift than major remake, with relatively modest styling changes but more significant changes to be found under the hood – with a number of new technologies being added to the little car, as well.
The subcompact will continue to be offered in both two- and four-door configurations, and on the outside the 2015 Polo gets a new front and rear bumpers, a revised grille, along with new LED headlamps and taillamps. Inside, there’s a new instrument cluster, new seats, an updated center console and a new climate control system.
VW promises to deliver as much as a 21% improvement in fuel economy with the Polo’s new powertrains. There will be three gasoline engines at launch, ranging from one making a modest 60 horsepower all the way up to the GTI edition’s updated turbocharged 1.4-liter package that jumps from 177 to 189 hp and is expected to be able to launch from 0 to 60 in a mere 6.9 seconds. A new 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder turbocharged BlueMotion package will reportedly get close to 60 mpg, pushing it towards hybrid fuel-efficiency.
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The 2015 VW Polo also will be offered with three new turbo-diesel engines, a move all the more intriguing because they all share the same 1.4-liter displacement but produce power ranging from 75 to 105 hp.
The use of LED lighting underscores Volkswagen’s goal of making the 2015 Polo more than just a pint-sized econobox. The new model will offer a wide range of features typically found in more expensive vehicles, from its new infotainment system to the Adaptive Cruise Control and City Emergency Braking systems. A new Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, meanwhile, is designed to prevent secondary collisions.
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Those looking for a sporty ride will also be offered a new Sport Select suspension with electronically controlled dampers and an electro-mechanical steering system.
As for the Polo R, it is expected to share many of the basic mechanical components of the Audi S1 that is due to debut at the Geneva Motor Show this coming March. That includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine reportedly making somewhere on the order of 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. That power will be directed to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and an electro-mechanical multi-plate clutch.
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A significantly revised rear suspension is also anticipated for the Polo R.