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Save up to $3,561 on a new Volkswagen Polo
Mike Stevens | Sep 16, 2011

We may never get a roadgoing version, but Volkswagen would like us to see what some of its rally heroes will be using to kick up muck around the world: the Polo R WRC.

If ever a Polo R does hit showrooms, it won't be anything like this one.

A production version might pack a 1.6 litre turbo engine, as this one does, but we don't imagine it would roll off the lot with the same Golf R-swatting 220kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

A four-wheel-drive system will propel the 1200kg Polo R charge through the mud, gravel and ice of the demanding circuits on the WRC calendar. There are no details however of the particular system deployed below or whether it's related to the Haldex technology used in the roadgoing Golf R.

The Polo R's 1.6 litre engine is also perfect for new WRC rules that come into effect this year, prescribing engines with direct injection, turbocharging and a maximum displacement of 1600cc.

The rally-bred Polo R gets the usual race-car treatment, including a stripped-out interior, protective cage, a wider track and the flared panels to go with it.

"The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen's philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles," said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board of the Volkswagen Brand, Development Division.

"The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us."

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.

Now that Ford looks ready to unleash a Polo GTI rival in the form of the new Fiesta ST (still a concept for now), it may be time for Volkswagen to up the ante.

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