Here we are then, a first proper look at the R5 Polo GTI in all its wide arched glory. Looks rather good if you ask us, wheels tucked up in the arches, roof scoop prominent and exhaust centrally placed. We're less sold on the rather aftermarket-looking 'POLO' grille but, hey, you can't have everything.
The car is expected to be homologated in the summer, with first competitive outings slated for the second half of 2018. And who would bet against it enjoying some success?
While PH is now only a matter of days from trying the new Volkswagen Polo GTI on the road, its namesake - the GTI R5 - has just begun testing for real on the loose. The run out offers us a first look at the customer-aimed rally car - which, until now, has only been shown in sneak preview renderings.
Polo R WRC - and so it proves, the R5 hardly losing anything in the transition from fifth generation underpinnings to sixth. And while it won't be competing in the headline competition, 270hp, a five-speed sequential 'box and all-wheel-drive make it sound a little more spirited than the exclusively front-drive, 200hp road car.
Volkswagen test driver Dieter Depping and Swedish WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand have been in the hot seat for the testing, carried out in Fontjoncouse, France. "A successful first test is a good sign and great motivation," said a satisfied Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets. "After the many hours and weeks spent working on our latest customer racing project on the computer, in the design process and in the workshop, the Polo GTI R5 can now finally show what it is capable of out on the road."
The manufacturer took its leave from the competition after that, and has now opted to expand its customer-based racing programme instead. From 2018, the GTI R5 will be offered to professional teams looking to compete in a variety of national and global championships - most notably the WRC2 category of the World Rally Championship.