Straight-line performance is a poor measure of a hot hatchback’s appeal, but it does serve to illustrate just how far the Polo GTI has come. Its recorded 0-60mph time of 6.7sec is a mere 0.2sec adrift of the 242bhp Performance Pack-equipped Golf GTI we’ve previously tested, and by 100mph the deficit has grown only to a solitary second.
This despite the fact our dual-clutch car’s launch-control function never quite got to grips with the near-perfect conditions (if you’ll excuse the pun), allowing the front tyres to over-rotate a fraction too vigorously.
Claimed top speed is nigh on 150mph, and given how readily the Polo accelerated to 130mph along the steeply banked, outermost lane of Millbrook’s high-speed bowl, there’s little reason to doubt it.
Nobody could accuse the hottest Polo of lacking performance, then, and yet there’s a sense it could be even quicker – and without modifications to the engine. The gearing is curiously long (most likely to more easily achieve emissions targets), and while 236lb ft from a mere 1500rpm helps disguise the effects of that out on the road, more closely stacked cogs would make proceedings that much more excitable.