Following a teaser published last month, Volkswagen Motorsport has now taken the virtual wraps off its latest gem. Based on the new Polo GTI hot hatchback, the R5 specification weighing in at 1,320 kilograms (2,910 pounds) is shaping up to be a little rocket and has been developed in collaboration with Skoda, which has been offering the Fabia R5 since 2015.

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Much like the road-going Polo GTI, the track-only machine is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine mounted transversely and benefiting from direct fuel injection. This is where the similarities end as while the street-legal version has a 2.0-liter engine with 200 horsepower (147 kilowatts) and 236 pound-feet (320 Newton-meters) of torque, the race car has a smaller 1.6-liter mill that actually manages to put out more power. It’s rated at 272 hp (200 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) channeled to both front and rear axles whereas the regular Polo GTI is front-wheel drive.

Gallery: 2018 VW Polo GTI R5

The differences continue when you check out the gearboxes the two cars are using. The R5 has a race-spec sequential, five-speed transmission, unlike the normal model offered for the time being with a dual-clutch, six-speed automatic, with a six-speed manual to be added later in 2018.

With more power and the advantage of having AWD, it’s no wonder the Polo GTI R5 is considerably quicker than its road car equivalent. It will do 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in only 4.1 seconds, or 2.6s sooner than the street model fitted with the aforementioned DSG.

VW says its newest race car will be homologated next summer and is going to kick off customer deliveries in the second half of 2018.

In related news, the Polo GTI is now available on order in Germany where it costs €23,875 (manual model coming next year should be cheaper). To celebrate the model’s sales launch, VW has dropped new images  of the feisty five-door hatchback, which you can check out below (together with the regular Polo).

Source: Volkswagen Motorsport

Gallery: 2018 VW Polo

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The rally sports car:
World premiere of the new Polo GTI R5

  • Super sporty variant of the new Polo GTI1 for global rallying
  • 200 kW / 272 PS turbo engine, four-wheel drive and safety package
  • FIA homologation in late summer, race debut planned for autumn 2018
  • presale of production model Polo GTI2 starts tomorrow

The stage is set for the rally GTI: The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 enjoyed a successful world premiere. The four-wheel drive rally car for customer sports, which is based on the sixth and latest generation of the new Polo, was introduced to the public for the first time at the official driving presentation of the new Polo GTI in Mallorca (Spain) on Monday evening. The development of the new rally sports car incorporated the experience and know-how acquired whilst winning four world titles in the pinnacle of rallying, the WRC, from 2013 to 2016.


"Presenting the new Polo GTI R5 to the public was a magnificent moment," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. "The close relationship to the road-going Polo GTI is unmistakable. In the rally Polo, the GTI family has another spectacular ambassador. Our team and the colleagues at Volkswagen Design in Wolfsburg deserve great credit for this. Over the coming months, the Polo GTI R5 must prove itself in a series of tough scenarios, in order to ensure that it can build on the success of its predecessor in the customers' hands."

Development of the Polo GTI R5 has been in full swing since the start of the year. Initial tests on asphalt and gravel took place in mid-November in Fontjoncouse, France, and will continue in Great Britain in December. Responsibility for the entire project lies with Technical Director François-Xavier "FX" Demaison, as well as Project Manager Jan de Jongh, who, as race engineer, looked after world champion Sébastien Ogier's Polo R WRC from 2013 to 2016.

"The Polo GTI R5 came through the initial tests without any problems. The feedback from the test drivers was very positive," says Demaison. "It is obviously beneficial to be able to call upon an experienced team of engineers and mechanics, who helped to develop the Polo that won the world championship. And it goes without saying that, as we have in the past, we are also taking advantage of the close and excellent cooperation with the colleagues in the technical development department in Wolfsburg, as well as our Škoda colleagues, who have been offering their customers an R5 car since 2015."

Like the production model – the new Polo GTI – the Polo GTI R5 has a powerful straight four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection, which is mounted transversely in front of the front axle. The capacity of the rally car is limited to 1.6 litres, in accordance with regulations. This is sufficient to generate an impressive 200 kW (272 hp) and maximum torque of 400 Newton metres. A close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive achieve outstanding acceleration on any surface – whether asphalt, gravel or snow. Weighing just 1,320 kilograms, the rally GTI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.

The four-door, steel chassis, which serves as the basis for the assembly, is manufactured at the production plant in Pamplona, Spain. In accordance with FIA regulations, it is strengthened with a role cage and other safety components. The Polo GTI R5 will be homologated in the summer of 2018. The first deliveries to customer sports teams, and the first competitive outings, are planned for the second half of the year.

In 2012, the International Automobile Federation FIA passed the R5 regulations for a new generation of rally cars, aimed primarily at customer teams, talented youngsters and privateers. Since then, more than 400 cars have been produced by five different manufacturers and have been in action in national and international championships all over the world.

GTI - these three letters have stood since 1976 for sporty compact cars from Volkswagen. At first it was just the Golf GTI3, but soon the Polo too was impressing as a Gran Turismo. Initially without fuel injection, the history of the sporty Polo began in 1980 with the first GT. The Polo GT G40 was already endowed with the dynamism of a GTI in 1987, with a top speed of 200 km/h. Then 1998 saw the launch of the first Polo GTI with 120 PS (90 kW). In 2010, its power was boosted to 180 PS (135 kW), and in 2014 it was upped to 192 PS (144 PS).

Now a new GTI is picking up speed: the next Polo GTI2. Power output of 147 kW / 200 PS and a top speed of 237 km/h. From 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds; fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 km reflects the drive system's efficiency. To accompany the engine's high performance are the standard sport running gear and the optional Sport Select running gear. The new standard production Polo GTI (with 6-speed DSG) model will be available for ordering starting tomorrow. Prices starting at 23.875 Euros.

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