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VW Polo BlueGT at 2012 Geneva motor show

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0800

This is the VW Polo BlueGT, just unveiled at the 2012 Geneva motor show. The VW Polo BlueGT is the second most powerful Polo you can buy, but thanks to some clever technology is also one of the cleanest and greenest.

VW Polo BlueGT? Is this a hot hatch with an eco conscious?

Sort of. Says Volkswagen: ‘This uncommon coexistence of efficiency and dynamic performance is enabled by the systematic interplay of ACT, downsizing and BlueMotion Technology’. Let’s decipher that lot… Bluemotion Technology means the Polo BlueGT features a stop/start system and battery generation (not proper hybrid-style energy recovery, but a trick alternator that only charges on the overrun). The downsized engine is a 1.4 TSI unit, the headline act in VW’s new range of EA211 petrol, and features a turbocharger and direct fuel injection. Peak power is 138bhp, nicely slotting the BlueGT into the gap between the 104bhp 1.2 TSI Polo and the 178bhp Polo GTI. The Polo BlueGT will do 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and reach 131mph.

But the Polo BlueGT is also officially rated at 60.1mpg and a paltry 108g/km – and 62.8mpg and 105 g/km CO2 if you ditch the six-speed manual transmission and opt for the optional seven-speed dual-clutch DSG ‘box. By comparison, that 1.2 TSI Polo returns 53.3mpg and 124g/km with a manual gearbox, and the DSG-only Polo GTI returns 47.9mpg and 139g/km.

So how does the Polo BlueGT achieve so pious figures?

Because the Polo BlueGT features cylinder deactivation, or ACT (active cylinder management) in VW-speak. We’ve already seen cylinder deactivation in other VW Group models from Bentley and Audi, but the Polo BlueGT is the first Volkswagen to get the technology. ACT shuts down the second and third cylinders under low and medium loads, which means the official combined NEDC fuel figure is bumped up from around 55mpg to the headline numbers mentioned above. Drive constantly at 50km/k (31mph) in third or four gear and VW reckons your fuel savings could be as much as one litre per 100km (or 0.2 gallons per 62 miles in UK language).  

Of course VW claims that when the ACT is active there is no impact on the refinement, noise or vibrations levels of the 1.4 TSI engine. Cylinders two and three can shutdown or start up within half a rotation of the camshaft (between 13 and 36 milliseconds, says VW, depending upon engine speed) with ignition and throttle valve tweaks to smooth the changes. The display screen between the instrument cluster shows when the Polo BlueGT is in two- or four-cylinder modes.

Cylinder deactivation can only occur between 1250rpm and 4000rpm, and at torque outputs between 18lb and 74lb ft, which VW claims is nearly 70% of the NEDC fuel consumption test. But position of the throttle and other parameters are measured to ensure ACT doesn’t activate when driving in traffic or when driving ‘in a sporty manner on a country road’.

What else?

The BlueGT doesn’t quite have the GTI’s bodykit, but it does feature chunkier bumpers than the rest of the Polo range beneath it, Bluemotion side sills, a discreet rear spoiler, 17in aluminium wheels, a 15mm lower ride height (to aid its aero efficiency), black wing mirrors and a couple of ‘GT’ badges. Sports seats, a GT-specific, leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control and various chrome trimmings complete the interior makeover.

The VW Polo BlueGT is not yet confirmed for sale in the UK, but we hear it should be on sale on our shores by the end of 2012. 

By Ben Pulman