Volkswagen Magazine


Gran Turismo Iberico.

Dark, cold months in the north – who wouldn’t want to escape them? The best remedy for the blues is a portion of passion. A friend. The sea. Beautiful roads, a full tank – and a car like the new Polo GTI.

Text Marin Majica
Photos Georg Roske

“This car has two personas”, explain Volkswagen, before they hand us the key to the new Polo GTI. We see one of the personas at first glance: a sporty and elegant car, well-conditioned, and in our case vibrant red, with with an altogether agreeably demure appearance. As for the second persona this is supposed to appear, we learn, when we push a button labelled “Sport” on the navigation display.
OK, we get the idea. We quickly locate the Sport button.
Our aim is to spend a whole day trying out how these two GTI personalities get along with each other – and us with them – under everyday conditions and on all types of roads.

We feel it makes absolute sense to conduct our little field trial in the very popular tourist region south of the Mediterranean city of Valencia. Back in Germany it is already dark in the early afternoon, and the thermometer is dropping further each day. So a little Spanish sun and heat are more than welcome.
George, the photographer, has donned a T-shirt with a small red heart on the chest for our trip. “Corazón,” he murmurs and grins, as we get in the Polo. I understand only too well: his heart is beating in GTI tempo.

Cortado in the morning

Sunny and around 20 degrees, said the Valencia weather forecast in the days prior to our arrival. Early morning greets us with... rain. The old town in the famous El Carmen quarter is beautiful, wet and deserted. In the bakery, where we order a strong cortado (Spanish espresso cut with milk) for breakfast, the young shop assistant recommends a visit to the ceramic museum. Ceramics. Off to a good start.

The Polo GTI has two personas. We want to get to know the sporty one.

Fun with puddles

9 miles is how far the wide, sandy beach stretches in Cullera, 24 miles south of Valencia. People have been settling here since ancient times, but nowadays mostly in the warmer months. December is perfectly suited for taking souvenir photos against empty backdrops – and for dynamic driving through deep puddles.

Fresh off the boat

A retired couple from Switzerland, deeply relaxed long-term holidaymakers, and lots of locals – these are the guests with whom we eat lunch in the Cantina Lonja at the harbour of Jávea. On the menu are tapas such as calamari, mussels, and skewered fish scampi – so fresh they taste as if they have just been brought in by the fishing boat.

Circuit training

The people in Spain, or at least those in the region of Valencia, are huge fans of roundabouts. They pop up in almost every traffic situation. Even the entrance to a small marina near Altea embraces no fewer than three. Unused during the off-season, they provide us with the opportunity to test the impressively steady cornering ability of the Polo GTI.

The new Polo GTI in figures.

1.8ltr TSI BMT 141 kW (192 hp)
6-speed manual gearbox
Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km):
37.2 (7.6) (urban), 55.4 (5.1) (extra urban), 47.1 (6.0) (combined),
CO2 emissions in g/km: 139 (combined), efficiency class: D
CO₂ emissions in g/km:
139, efficiency class: D
Acceleration (from 0 to 62 mph):
6.7 seconds
Peak speed:
146 mph
Length: 3983 mm
Width: 1901 mm
Height: 1443 mm
Luggage compartment:
204 – 882 l
Standard selection highlights:
4 “Parabolica” alloy wheels 7.5 J x 17, radiator grill in honeycomb structure painted black with strips in red or chrome and GTI lettering, XDS electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling, Automatic Post-Collision braking system, a leather trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel finished with red stitching and the GTI logo, and sporty aluminium-look pedals.

Little Manhattan

Benidorm, we read, has more high-rise buildings per capita than New York City. It’s really not so bad there – we were welcomed by a beautiful sunset. But the average age in the pedestrian area seems to be about 60. Instead we prefer to drive the 86 miles back to Valencia – and wind up the day with a glass of red wine. Extremely unsportsmanlike.