Remember back in the days when the homologation of rally cars such as the Ford Escort, Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution allowed petrolheads to buy and own rally spec cars for the road? In recent years the decline of the World Rally Championships (WRC) has caused traditional rivals, Subaru and Mitsubishi, to pull out in top-level rallying, causing a vacuum of homologated rally cars to be sold to the public.
That’s set to end as Volkswagen, fresh from their successful 2013 campaign in the WRC, has announced that the long-rumored VW Polo R is confirmed for production. Just like its WRC sibling, the Polo R will be all-wheel drive, based on the outputs of its sister car, the Audi S1 – an all-wheel hot version of the A1 which is set to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The Polo R will not use the similar 1.6L turbocharged engine that powers its WRC machine, instead it will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine with 250bhp hooked-up to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. That should propel the Polo R from 0-100 KM/H in under six seconds.
The Polo R ditches the standard rear torsion beam set-up from the normal Polo for a new multi-link rear suspension system. VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system will be utilized by the Polo R, allowing the Polo R to attack the tarmac and the gravel surfaces with the kind of gusto seen in VW rally driver and current world champion, Sebastien Ogier’s ride.
However, instead of limiting the production run to only 2,500 units per the requirement of a homologated model, the Polo R will become a regular production model. More details will be revealed during the upcoming Geneva motor show in March.
Now all that’s needed is for Citroen to announce their hot version of the DS3 hatchback, as after all, Ford has the Fiesta ST which has won numerous accolades worldwide. If so, a three-way battle of the hot rally bred superminis should be as electrifying as the Subaru and Mitsubishi battles we recall so fondly.