Shanghai-VW Releases Watered Down Polo GTI

The Chinese-made Polo GTI went on sale Wednesday with a price tag of 158,900 Yuan. With honeycomb front grille, red trim, and checkered seat covering, it looks almost identical with the 5-door European version. And yet it is weaker in substance, powered by a 96kW 1.4T rather than the 132kW 1.4L Twincharger engine. The Chinese version has a 0-100km/h time of 9 seconds, compared with the 6.9 seconds for the European.

vw polo gti china
vw polo gti china

To reduce costs as well as to adapt to local road conditions, the Polo GTI from Shanghai-Volkswagen comes standard with 16-inch rather than 17-inch wheels; gets the same headlight design as Cross Polo, thus omitting LED daytime running lights, Xenon headlights, and headlight washers; and leaves out multi-function steering wheel and cruise control.

For the reduced features, many find the latest Polo overpriced and unmarketable. If Shanghai-Volkswagen’s real intention behind the release is to refresh the Polo marque, that attempt may backfire as consumers are increasingly fed up with the joint venture’s dishonesty in providing watered-down China-only models.