2013 Volkswagen Polo BlueGT

Volkswagen has been really busy with its compact European hatchback, the Polo , as of late. First Vee-Dub released the Polo R-Line , then it teased us with the Polo WRC Street , and the latest was the high-performance Polo R. As per usual, none of those models are making it to the U.S. – sigh – but our U.K. friends get to tell us all about them.

VW is at it again by giving our Euro readers yet another version of the Polo to whip around. This time, however, this one is a hybrid of sorts. No, not an electric-gas hybrid, but rather a nice mixture of performance and fuel economy – kinda like eating fat- and sugar-free ice cream, but it still actually tastes like ice cream.

So how tasty is this Ben and Jerry’s sans the fat and sugar? Does it still have the tasty peanut butter-filled pretzels and chucks of chocolate in it, or is more like what you really get when you buy “healthy” ice cream: tasteless frozen skim milk with chunks of strange, chewy mess obviously sweetened with saccharine?

Click past the jump to read our review and find out.

Exterior

The Polo BlueGT doesn’t feature much that you won’t necessarily see on the outside of any other Polo trim level, sans the GT badges on the front and rear. The “GT” emblem up front rests on the driver side of grille’s center strikethrough, much like the “R” emblems on the R and R-line Polos.

The Polo BlueGT borrows some styling pieces from the GTI model. Things like the GTI’s rear spoiler, rear bumper cover with diffuser, front bumper, and LED daytime running lights are all borrowed from the GTI. Like the name alludes to, the GTI is not the only donor car, as the BlueGT also uses the side sills and windshield rain channels from the Polo BlueMotion.

Two other components are completely unique to the Polo BlueGT and those are its painted black front grille and side-view mirror covers. With the BlueGT also comes a set of 17-inch alloy wheels. The final BlueGT-only feature on this model is the optional “Blue Silk” paintjob.

You can really see what VW’s goal was with this model. It took the best features from the outside of multiple Polo trim levels and combined them into the BlueGT, giving it a bespoke look without the bespoke pricing. It’s so simple that it’s nearly ingenious.

Standard Exterior Features:

  • BlueGT badges
  • GTI rear spoiler
  • GTI rear bumper cover with diffuser
  • GTI front bumper
  • LED daytime running lights
  • BlueMotion side sills
  • BlueMotion windshield rain channels
  • Painted-black front grille
  • Painted-black side-view mirror covers
  • 17-inch alloy wheels

Optional Exterior Features:

  • Blue Silk paint

Interior

Unfortunately, VW has yet to release images of the interior, but it gave us a nice synopsis of what’s going on inside the Polo BlueGT. Borrowed from the GTI model is the all-black headliner and the white gauges. You get a set of custom-for-the-BlueGT sports seats in the front and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, featuring a BlueGT emblem in the center.

On top of those features you also get a DAB radio with iPod connection, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity.

Standard Interior Features:

  • All-black headliner
  • White gauge faces
  • BlueGT sports seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel w/ featuring a BlueGT emblem
  • DAB radio with iPod connection
  • Cruise control
  • Bluetooth connectivity
Volkswagen Polo BlueGT

Engine and Drivetrain

Under the hood is the largest piece of the puzzle that makes up this performance-economy mash up. This piece is the all-new EA211 engine, which is a turbocharged petrol-powered, 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that pumps out a rather impressive 140 PS (138 horsepower) and a stout 250 Nm (185 pound-feet) of torque.

What makes this engine so unique is the fact that it utilizes a cylinder deactivation system to shut down two of its four cylinders when specific criteria are met. The two criteria that must be met for deactivation are engine speeds between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm, and torque output between 25 and 100 Nm (18 to 74 pound-feet) – so basically cruising at 50 to 100 km/h (30 mph to 44 mph). Once you’re ready to accelerate, the two deactivated cylinders reactivate seamlessly.

This engine links up to a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 7-speed DSG automatic transmission with XDS electronic differential lock. This combination nets the Polo BlueGT a 0-to-100 km/h (0-to-60 mph) time of just 7.9 seconds and a 130 mph top speed – pretty impressive for its class. What’s more impressive, however, it its stunning 61.4 mpg combined fuel economy and 107 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Engine and Drivetrain Specifications:

Engine Type1.4-liter TSI 4-Cylinder
Engine Output140 PS (138 horsepower) 250 Nm (185 pound-feet) of torque
Transmission Type6-speed manual transmission (standard) or 7-speed DSG automatic (optional)
Drive TypeFront-Wheel Drive w/ XDS Electronic Diff Lock
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)7.9 Seconds
Top Speed130 mph
Fuel Economy61.4 mpg Combined
CO2 Emissions107 g/100 km

Pricing and Release Date

The Polo BlueGT ranges from £17,400 ($22,801 at current exchange rates) to £19,365 ($25,376 at current exchange rates). You can order the BlueGT now, but VW does not expect to start delivering vehicles until the middle of December.

ModelEnginePrice OTR
Polo BlueGT 3dr1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man£17,400
Polo BlueGT 5dr1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man£18,020
Polo BlueGT 3dr1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG£18,745
Polo BlueGT 5dr1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG£19,365

Competition

The VW Polo lineup gets plenty of competition from the likes of the Seat Ibiza , Chevy Aveo and Renault Clio . Fortunately for VW – unfortunately for other makes – none of them manage to combine the fuel economy and the overall output of the Polo BlueGT. It is truly a work of engineering genius and will likely sell extremely well. Until, of course, some automaker copies it.

Conclusion

Overall, we love what VW has done here. It perfectly combined power and economy to make a car that can compete with some of the more powerful ones in its class, yet gets better combined fuel economy than the majority in the same class. What an incredible combination. Now, keep in mind that this car has cylinder deactivation on its side and is tune perfectly to maximize the mpg according to the EU testing process – they do the same in the U.S. If you drive this car hard, you will likely dip into the 30 mpg range, or worse.

LOVE IT
  • Awesome mpg
  • Great power and acceleration for a hatchback
  • Nice addition of various parts from other trim levels
LEAVE IT
  • Will likely get much worse gas mileage if you push too hard
  • Not in the U.S.. of course
  • May be too unique for its class and not sell well

Press Release

VOLKSWAGEN’S PARSIMONIOUS BUT PEPPY POLO BLUEGT OPENS FOR ORDERING

Customers who want to mix the performance of a petrol motor with the frugal fuel use of a diesel are in for a treat, as the new Volkswagen Polo BlueBT, which uses ACT cylinder deactivation to maximise efficiency and power, is available to order from today.

The new Polo BlueGT, which costs from £17,400 on the road, features a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 140 PS and 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) of torque, yet it returns 61.4 mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 107 g/km of CO2, whether drivers opt for the six-speed manual or the seven-speed DSG transmission. Top speed is 130 mph and zero to 62 mph takes just 7.9 seconds.

At the heart of the Polo BlueGT, and responsible in large part for its combination of high performance and low fuel economy, is the new EA211 engine. Under light and medium loads, the second and third cylinders are automatically shut down, producing fuel savings of up to 0.4 litres per 100 km in the EU driving cycle. At a constant 50 kmh (30 mph) the savings can be as much as one litre per 100 km, and even at 70 kmh (44 mph) in fifth gear, around 0.7 litres per 100 km can be saved.

Cylinder deactivation occurs at engine speeds of between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm, and at torque outputs of 25 to 100 Nm (18 to 74 lbs ft). If the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the two cylinders are imperceptibly reactivated. All mechanical switchovers occur within 13 to 36 milliseconds, depending on engine speed. The multifunction display in the instrument binnacle lets the driver know when cylinders are deactivated.

While the cylinder deactivation is so unobtrusive that only the driver might know about it, the Polo BlueGT itself is distinguished inside and out by various styling cues. On the outside, there are multi-spoke 17-inch alloys and GT badges front and rear, while the suspension is lowered by around 15 mm. Added to this are some features borrowed from the Polo GTI (the rear spoiler, rear bumper with diffuser, plus front bumper with LED daytime running lights) and some from the Polo BlueMotion (side sills and front windscreen rain channels). A black-painted front grille and black door mirror caps complete the look, while a unique exterior paint, ‘Blue Silk’, is available as an option.

Inside, as in the Polo GTI, the roof lining is in black, while the instruments are also adopted from the GTI. Up front are bespoke BlueGT sports seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with BlueGT emblem. Standard specification includes DAB radio with iPod connectivity, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connection and XDS electronic differential lock. Orders open today, with deliveries expected in mid-December.


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