Volkswagen not only revealed its highly significant new Polo at the Geneva Motor Show, but it also immediately announced a concept version—the BlueMotion that it claims is set to become the most fuel-efficient five-seater in the world. Fuel consumption is stated to be 3.3 L/100 km and CO2 emissions an exceptionally low 87 g/km.
VW Research and Development boss, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, said he anticipated the concept becoming a production reality in February next year. Its engine is a three-cylinder 55-kW (74-hp) diesel of only 1.2-L capacity (very small for a diesel). The car will have stop-start and regenerative braking systems that together reduce fuel consumption by 0.2 L/100 km.
The concept weighs 1080 kg (2380 lb) and has aerodynamic enhancements including a body height lowered by 10 mm (0.4 in), aerodynamically modified underbody, and low-rolling-resistance tires on 15-in alloy wheels, all of which bring fuel savings of 0.8 L/100 km.
For the moment, though, the fifth-generation production Polo model lineup is less radical, albeit still impressively frugal, with a best fuel consumption of 3.8 L/100 km and 96-g/km CO2 emissions for the 1.6-L turbodiesel with BlueMotion package.
The new Polo gets slightly angular styling and VW’s now distinctive family-look front-end treatment. Average body weight is down by about 7.5% compared to the outgoing model. There are initially seven engine choices of TDI (turbocharged direct-injection diesel) and TSI (turbocharged direct-injection gasoline) units, two of them available with a seven-speed DSG (double-clutch) transmission. All diesels are 1.6-L with a power spread of 55 to 77 kW (74 to 103 hp).
The most powerful gasoline Polo, the three-cylinder 1.2 TSI, produces 77 kW and returns 5.5 L/100 km fuel consumption and 129 g/km of CO2 emissions (at present forecast values)—a reduction of some 19% compared to the equivalent previous model. Top speed is 190 km/h (118 mph) driving through a six-speed manual gearbox, with the DSG an option. Three of the four gasoline engines have 1.2-L capacity; a fourth, producing 63 kW (84 hp), has 1.4-L. The most powerful Polo diesel produces 77 kW, returns 4.2 L/100 km (forecast value), and has a maximum speed of 189 km/h (117 mph). Its transmission is a five-speed.
Polo suspension is MacPherson strut at the front, semi-independent at the rear. Track width is 30 mm (1.2 in) up on the previous Polo, and the front wheels are 5 mm (0.2 in) farther forward to improve caster angle and achieve better stability. ESP with hill-hold is standard.
VW aimed to give the Polo a high-profile safety performance, so it was designed to meet the latest, comprehensive 5-Star Euro NCAP rating. Footwell intrusion (in relation to vehicle body deformation strength in a frontal crash) has been reduced by 50% and side impact intrusion by 20%. The steering column (height and reach adjustable) was redeveloped from the previous model.
The options list for the Polo will include static turning lights, side curtain airbags, a panoramic sunroof, and bi-xenon headlights.
The Polo was created under the design leadership of Walter de Silva (Head of Group Design) and has an overall length of 3952 mm (155.6 in), up 36 mm (1.4 in) on the previous Polo, and width of 1682 mm (66.2 in), which is 32 mm (1.3 in) wider, with luggage space of 280 to 952 L (9.9 to 33.6 ft³) depending on seating configuration. At 1454 mm (57.2 in) tall, the car is 13 mm (0.5 in) lower than before.