Volkswagen, Want Your Mojo Back? Make This For Us!


Volkswagen has been taking it in the shorts for quite some time now. Yes, the Dieselgate scandal is grinding on, taking a huge toll on VW’s reputation and finances. What could Volkswagen possibly do to rehabilitate themselves in the American market, particularly with the enthusiasts who have supported them for so many years?

Volkswagen Once Stood For “Fun To Drive”

Yes, Martha, back before the “clean” diesel came to define the brand, Volkswagen was the affordable German sports sedan, coupe and hot hatch. The Mk1 Scirocco, the original American-made Rabbit GTI with striped velour sport seats, the Jetta GLI, the supercharged Corrado – these were unique and attainable cars with state-of-the-art technology and truly awesome driving dynamics. These hot VWs were very popular with the enthusiast community back in the day, and deservedly so.

Well, here’s an idea, Damen und Herren – send us a hot, new compact performance hatch based on your winning Polo World Rally Championship car, and all will be forgiven! Just look at these specs for the WRC racer:

  • Engine: 1,600 cc, 318 hp straight-four direct-injected engine with turbocharger and intercooling
  • Gearbox: Sequential six-speed, hydraulically activated by paddles on the steering wheel
  • Drivetrain: Permanent four-wheel drive with equal torque split between the front and rear axles, with multi-plate limited-slip differentials
  • Steering: Servo-assisted rack and pinion
  • Brakes: Ventilated disc brakes, aluminium brake calipers with four calipers, front and rear
  • Acceleration: 0–100 km/h (0-62 mph) in approx. 3.9 seconds

It makes sense. While the current GTI and Golf R are decent hot hatches, the powers that be at Volkswagen have historically not been very kind to their American-based hard-core enthusiasts. A more raw, WRC-based Polo would go a long way toward restoring our belief in the future of the Volkswagen brand. Think a more compact, more extreme version of the Subaru WRX STI.

A Few Changes Will Be Necessary

Granted, there are components that would need to be changed for series production. The sequential transmission would most likely be replaced by a six-speed manual and/or a DSG. The brakes won’t need to have four calipers each for street use. The four-wheel drive system won’t have to withstand the constant pounding of mountain and desert rally stages.

But the power rating is not far off – the current Golf R and Audi S3 both have 292 hp versions of the VW turbo four. A little more tuning and we are there at 318 hp in the Polo’s smaller package! Sounds like fun!

Make It Affordable, Volkswagen!

It would be important to keep the costs of this rally special under control, so that mere mortals and VW fans could afford it. Offer a base version with cloth seats and no fancy options for the true believers. The high-end infotainment, leather seats, and autonomous driving features can be offered in a standalone option package if the bean counters insist.

What do you say, Volkswagen? You have all the parts sitting on the shelf, just waiting to be assembled!