The never-ending hot hatch craze just got better.

Volkswagen introduced the new Polo GTI at the IAA 2021 in Munich. It instantly caught a lot of attention thanks to some design styling borrowed from the new eighth-gen Golf. The new Polo GTI has a lot on offer for the price and is one of the best-selling hot hatches in the European market. Read more to get a detailed emphasis on this new budget hot hatch.


Hatchbacks are not popular in the land of SUVs and trucks and it is unlikely for the 2022 Polo GTI to launch in the US. Volkswagen America got to launch the much-awaited new GTI and R variants of the Golf which are steaming hot in the new attire and tuned performance. Similarly, the Polo GTI holds up quite well and sports the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine as the Golf GTI but has lower horsepower and torque figures. The front and rear fascia get a bolder look with the new IQ.Light matrix LEDs along with a refreshed interior. The cabin looks modern and tech-proof with the new standard fully digital driver information display and the latest MIB 3.1 infotainment system. Volkswagen has not revealed the final pricing of the new Polo GTI but it will likely be around $34,500 or £25,000 and competes with the likes of the new Hyundai i20 N, Ford Fiesta ST-Line, and Peugeot 208 GTI.

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI: Feature list

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Interior
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The latest iteration of the sixth-gen Polo GTI comes with a few long-awaited updates and that makes the feature list quite big for the price you are paying. The features include:

  • IQ.Light LED matrix headlamps with honeycomb intake grille.
  • 10.25 Digital Cockpit Pro multi-information driver display.
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen central display with MIB 3.1 system.
  • Limited-slip differential.
  • Seven-speed DSG only.
  • Plaid and leather seats.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
  • OTA updates via Volkswagen ID.
  • Online Connectivity Unit with eSIM compatibility.
  • IQ. Drive semi-autonomous driving assist.
  • Leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel.
2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
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Other optional features are as follows:

  • Wireless charging pad.
  • Panoramic sunroof.
  • Beats premium six-speaker audio unit.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Parking assist.

Standard safety features including the updates include:

  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Automated emergency braking.
  • Post-collision safety system.

Exterior Design

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The 2022 model year of the current Volkswagen cars is having significant visual upgrades over the earlier models and so does the Polo line up. Similar to the Golf, the IQ.Light LED matrix headlamp design looks aggressive with the new sleek DRL running through the grille radiator crossbar. The intake grille is newly designed and now has honeycomb patterns similar to the Golf. The redesigned LED taillights are a bit stretched to the middle to create the dramatic turn indicator flow. The rear spoiler and twin chrome exhaust add up to the sporty design language. Volkswagen highlighted the GTI trim with the logo on the grille with red accents surrounding it.

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
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The same thing carries on the sides and the rear where it is just below the VW initials. A set of 17-inch alloy wheels come as standard but can be upgraded to 18-inch ones. In terms of the overall dimensions, the GTI shares most of the numbers with the regular Polo except for the height which is slightly down to 56.6 inches. Apart from that, the 160.3-inch length, 68.9-inch height, and 100.9-inch wheelbase are identical to the regular Polo. A few of the exterior highlights of the 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI are as follows:

  • LED matrix headlamps.
  • Honeycomb grille design.
  • 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • Twin chrome exhaust cutouts.
  • Red accents on the brakes.
2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior Dimensions
Model  2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI
Curb Weight 1,286 kg (2835 lbs)
Length 4,074 mm (160.3 inches)
Width 1,751 mm (68.9 inches)
Height 1439 mm (56.6 inches)
Ground Clearance N/A
Wheelbase 2564 mm (100.9 inches)

Interior Features and Practicality

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Interior
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Much like the exterior, Volkswagen brought substantial upgrades to the interior. The soft-touch dashboard is not wholly redesigned but a part of it feels like it is, especially the red accents covering the middle and extending to the door panel.

The most immediately noticed changes are the new flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with silver accents and the 10.25-inch multi-information display in front of it that comes fitted as standard now.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen comes as standard but a 9.2-inch display is available and they are slightly tilted towards the driver for better convenience. The seats are faux leather covered with the Clark check pattern as Volkswagen calls it but they offer a great feel and look. The front sports seats offer multi-level power adjustability with heating options.

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Interior
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Small hatchbacks are not the best for hauling people and that continues with the new 2022 Polo GTI. Don’t get us wrong, the space is adequate for city usage and the cabin can fit up to 5 people at the same time. The front row has enough head and legroom with up to 40.1 inches and 41.0 inches, respectively. The rear has a decent head and shoulder room but the 32.4 inches legroom will make the taller individuals uncomfortable. Apart from that, the spaciousness is adequate for city commutes and even shopping with 14.6 cubic feet of boot space. That being said, let’s jot down the important interior standout features of the 2022 Polo GTI.

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Leather-wrapped leather wheel with added control buttons.
  • Optional leather seats.
  • Power-adjustable front seats with multi-level heating options.
  • 10.25-inch fully digital instrument panel.
  • Red accents around the cabin.
  • Panoramic sunroof. (Optional)
2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Interior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI
Seating Capacity 5
Headroom, Front 1,019 mm or 40.1 inches 
Headroom, Rear 964 mm or 37.9 inches
Shoulder room, Front 1,386 mm or 54.5 inches
Shoulder room, Rear 1,384 mm or 54.4 inches
Legroom, Front 1,042 mm or 41.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 824 mm or 32.4 inches
Cargo Capacity  414 kg or 14.6 cubic feet
2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Interior
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The updated infotainment system sees new light as Volkswagen adds the latest MIB 3.1, which is one of the most user-friendly systems with an Online Connectivity Unit and eSIM support. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come installed as standard along with a navigation system. Being the top-tier variant of the Polo family, Volkswagen ID will take responsibility for over-the-air updates for future software improvements. A few of the infotainment features are as follows:

  • 8.0 or 9.2-inch touchscreen display with MIB 3.1.
  • WiFi hotspot.
  • OTA updates via Volkswagen ID.
  • 6-speaker audio unit.
  • Rear-parking camera.
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
  • Wireless charging pad. (Optional)

Performance and Handling

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
- image 998354

Powering the 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI is the same old 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged inline-four that has been the heart of the Polo and Golf GTIs. Unlike the Golf GTI, the Polo pumps out 204 horsepower (207 PS) and 236 pound-feet (320 NM) of torque. The power output is a perfect match given the lightweight body and small size.

Like its predecessors, the Polo GTI drives through the front wheels only and gets a seven-speed DSG as standard for effortless shifts, but there is no option for manual transmission. The engine feels peppy with so much torque kicking in just 1,500 revs and that has been the nature of the 2.0-liter since its introduction.

Volkswagen claims that Polo GTI can get up to 100 km/h or 62 mph from a standstill in just 6.5 seconds, which is similar to the Fiesta ST-Line and is 0.2 seconds faster than the i20 N. The Polo GTI tops out at 240 km/h or 149 miles per hour.
2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
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Handling the Polo GTI is just so much better now as it gets XDS electronic differential lock for better traction around corners. The ESC works like a charm without intervening too much which can ruin the fun. The drive modes include- Eco, Individual, Normal, and Sport. The Eco mode takes control over the throttle response with interior air conditioning to serve a better economy. The Individual mode is driver-configurable. The Sport mode changes the engine’s character and makes it prone to more throttle response with an open exhaust valve which sounds amazing. The steering feels accurate and light with adequate feedback. The slightly stiffer suspension profile makes getting in and out of corners easier. The MQB platform has been embraced to provide rigidity and high-speed stability on the Polo GTI.

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Performance Stats
Model 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI 
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
Drivetrain FWD
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
Power  204 HP 
Torque  236 lb-ft 
0-62 MPH (seconds) 6.5
Top Speed  149 mph or 240 km/hr

Safety Convenience

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
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As mentioned earlier, the MQB platform is now more shock absorbing and ranks high in safety tests That said, the earlier Polo has reserved up to 4-star in the Global NCAP crash tests. We hope the new Polo will perform better as Volkswagen has loaded the Polo GTI with loads of driver assistance features including the IQ.Drive semi-autonomous driving assist. A few of the key safety features available with the Polo GTI are as follows:

  • Electronic stability control.
  • Emergency braking assist.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Post-collision safety system.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Parking assist.
  • Proactive occupant protection system.
  • Driver alert system.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.

Is the 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI impressive already?

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI Exterior
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Of course, I mean the upgrades are surely the ones it needed. With Volkswagen rolling up the sleeves and getting to upgrade the overall tech of its lineup, it is tough for Hyundai and Ford to cope up. The latter companies offer similarly good value for money hot hatches but the feature-list just got heavier in the Volkswagen. It is a shame that the U.S. won’t get to see the insane matrix LEDs anytime soon. If you are in Europe and want a compact car with adequate performance, then the 2022 Polo GTI is the one to go for thanks to its added reliability and a good amount of future-proofing.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
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Experienced Content Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the automotive industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Content Writing, Microsoft Office, and Article Writing. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Arts - BA focused in History and currently pursuing for Master of Arts.  Read full bio
About the author

In April, Volkswagen presented the latest evolutionary stage of the sixth generation of Polo. Now comes its sportiest version: the new Polo GTI. The bearer of the legendary acronym spearheads the Polo segment in terms of performance, technology and sportiness. The powerful TSI engine and sports chassis, tailored specifically to the Polo GTI, transform the best-selling compact car into a dynamic, four-door sports car, which also allows semi-automated driving as an option for the first time in a Polo GTI. A host of the latest generation of assistance systems guarantee even greater comfort and safety for all passengers.

In the automobile world, there are three letters that have had a magic sound to them for approaching five decades now: GTI. Since the original GTI in 1976, Volkswagen has ensured that this code is synonymous with outstanding driving pleasure in the compact segment. The Polo has borne the acronym GTI since 1998 – the third model to do so, after the Golf and the Scirocco. The latest generation seamlessly continues the illustrious GTI tradition and sets new benchmarks for compact cars. The technical basis for this is provided by Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB). Across all the model lines, MQB stands for technological progress, high body rigidity, an exemplary low weight, and very good crash properties.

IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist, used for the first time in a Polo GTI, enables semi-automated driving. The system can take over the steering, braking and accelerating of the new Polo GTI from 0 km/h to the control limit of Travel Assist (210 km/h). For longitudinal guidance, IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist calls upon familiar systems like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Latitudinal guidance is supported by Lane Assist, which comes as standard. The driver can activate the system via the Travel Assist button in the redesigned, multifunctional, leather sports steering wheel. The driver’s hands must remain on the steering wheel whilst using this system, meaning the driver is always responsible for the car.

Many new infotainment systems (the latest generation of MIB3.1), which are connected to various services online, ensure state-of-the-art connectivity in the new Polo GTI. An Online Connectivity Unit (OCU) with integrated eSIM makes it possible to use online services from We Connect (prepared for a limited time) and We Connect Plus (prepared for free use in Europe for one or three years). Features like natural voice control, access to streaming services and a cloud-based personalisation using “Volkswagen ID” enhance the latest MIB3.1 system, depending on the equipment line. The integration of such apps as App-Connect Wireless for Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ is now wireless. As in the Polo, instruments and the infotainment system are arranged on a visual axis, ensuring they can be viewed and operated easily in any driving situation. The Digital Cockpit Pro impresses with a higher pixel density, an improved contrast ratio and intense colours, as well as it sheer size – the screen measures 10.25 inches or 26 centimetres diagonally.

Sportiness coupled with efficiency and moderate consumption
The heart of a GTI is always its engine. Like all its predecessors, the new Polo GTI is also front-wheel drive. The turbo-charged, direct petrol injector changes gear via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG), which comes as standard. Among the highlights of the turbo engine in the new Polo GTI, which is installed transversely at the front of the car, are such features as a dual injection system with combined direct and intake-manifold fuel injection, an engine control unit with four core processors, and an electronic valve-lift system on the inlet side. Despite the high output, the engine is impressively efficient with moderate fuel consumption levels. This is aided by the low weight of the new Polo GTI when empty.

As you would expect from a genuine Volkswagen GTI, the new Polo GTI also comes with a sports chassis, tailored specially to the car, as standard. It lowers the chassis by 15 millimetres and guarantees the typical GTI synthesis of driving dynamics, safe neutrality and a high degree of driving comfort.

The new Polo GTI now comes as standard with the new IQ.Light – LED matrix headlights and an illuminated radiator grille bar as a distinctive enhancement to the daytime running light. This sees the sporty new Polo form a stylistic bridge to Volkswagen’s fully-electric ID. models and the new generation of successful models like the Golf, Arteon and Tiguan, which also come with this striking LED light strip, which is typical of new Volkswagens, as an option or depending on the equipment line.

The most striking visual change to the rear of the new Polo GTI is the newly-designed LED rear lights with animated brake light and integrated dynamic indicators, which indicate a change in direction with flowing light movements. The new, GTI-specific bumper gives the compact sports car an even more commanding and broader visual presence on the roads. The Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS), which is integrated in the side of the bumper and controlled via the main headlights, has been redesigned and now gives an even more concise lighting effect. In combination with the IQ.Light –

LED matrix headlights, it provides a very homogenous illumination of the road and surroundings. The striking red GTI logo on the radiator grille, the honeycomb-shaped ventilation grilles, and the continuous red trim strip above the LED daytime running light strip remain the characteristic GTI insignia at the sharper front of the car. To the right and left, it flows into the IQ.Light – LED matrix headlights with red winglets.

The new Polo GTI is available in five colours: Deep Black Pearl Effect, Smoke Grey Metallic, Kings Red Metallic, Pure White Uni, and Reef Blue Metallic. The latter three chassis colours can be combined with a contrasting black roof as an option (Roof Pack). The car comes with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. The Polo GTI can also be ordered with optional 18-inch alloys.

On the interior, black, red, grey and chrome are the dominant colours.

The roof pillars and roof liner are always retained in the Titanium Black trim colour, which is typical of the GTI. Red contrast stitching is also always a typical characteristic of a GTI. It adorns the multifunctional, leather sports steering wheel, which comes as standard, the gear lever trim and the seat surfaces. The optional beats sound system, with 300 watts and six speakers, make for a captivating accoustic experience. The amplifier is located under the floor in the variable cargo area to save space. The luggage capacity of the new Polo GTI is 351 litres.

1 All equipment details apply to the German market. Homologated consumption values and CO2 emissions are not yet available. The car is not yet for sale.

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