First off, the Volkswagen Polo R-Cup's third season is going to be more expensive. For one, it's divided into three categories — Junior, Pro and Master. Drivers in the Junior and Pro categories will be paying Rs 7 lakh for the six races that constitute a season, while those in the Master category will be lighter by Rs 14 lakh. Oh, and from this year, the Polo Cup cars will run on petrol, which, after the latest price hike, may cause some heartburn!
Jokes apart, the new Polo Cup racer is a significant 50 bhp up on its predecessor. Unlike the 1.6-litre, 131 bhp TDI motors, the cars now sport 181 bhp, 1.4-litre TSI engines. These engines are twin-charged, as they benefit from both a supercharger and turbocharger. Sounds impossible? Not really, since Volkswagen has been producing this very setup for road-going cars for over five years. It solves a unique problem that usually afflicts forced induction cars. Supercharging provides good shove at lower speeds, but lacks performance at the vital top-end of the rev range. Turbocharging is the exact opposite in character, so what better than to marry them and enjoy the best of both worlds —good low-end, mid-range and top-end performance.
There are other changes too. Gone is the six-speed manual gearbox, with a six-speed, dual clutch automatic gearbox in its place. We are well acquainted with this particular gearbox, especially since it does duty in the Jetta, Passat, Skoda Superb and Laura, to name a few. Drivers thus no longer have to contend with a third pedal and figuring out the right gear to be in. Slot the gear in drive or sport and it will shift all by itself, or even downshift for you, though most drivers will use the paddle shifts right behind the steering for better control. Drivers also get anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control, a limited slip differential and launch control, the latter being especially useful when the lights go out and the race begins. Externally, the car benefits from a large rear wing made of lightweight material and some minor aerodynamic changes at the front.
Continued on next page >