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Brand New Volkswagen Polo

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Mike Stevens | May 17, 2011

Rumours of a top-shelf Polo R have been brought back to life this week, in the wake of news that Volkswagen is preparing a Polo-propelled assault on the World Rally Championship.

Reports earlier this year claimed that Volkswagen had all-but written off the possibility of a R-badged Polo, an unnamed source describing it as an unrealistic proposition when priced against the group's other performance models.

This week, reports out of Europe suggest that the Polo R project is not dead yet, with Volkswagen board member Ulrich Hackenberg confessing that a more powerful Polo could come out of the company's rally programme.

"You can see how the World Rally Championship programme would increase the probability of an R version of the base model,” Hackenberg is quoted by Autocar.

“It is with the rally programme, not before it. I can’t give a precise date, but it’s along those lines.”

If a roadgoing Polo R is produced, it will likely draw more from the upcoming Audi S1 than from its purpose-built rally counterpart.

Officially, plans for a roadgoing race-inspired Polo R remain unconfirmed, and pricing the model without cannibalising sales of the company's other performance models will be key.

With the likes of Subaru and Mitsubishi's proven 'rally-tested' WRX STI and Evolution campaigns of years past, success on the WRC stage will be a major factor in the company's decision to approve a production Polo R.

For now, the range-topping model in the Polo line-up continues to be the GTI, powered by Volkswagen's 132kW 1.4 litre turbo- and super-charged TSI engine.

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