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Old 26th October 2014, 15:43   #1
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Default 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Disclaimer: No ambitions of writing an objective and/or a technically ace review… this is a highly subjective ‘gonzo’ piece
For the authoritative official review of the the GT Tsi read: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...al-review.html (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review)



The wishlist for the next car starts shaping up in the very moment when you ride out with your ‘then’ new car. Might not be a universal saying… but that’s when it started for me.

December 2011, I drove out my XUV 500 (Grey W6) amidst blurry expectations and fair bit of concerns. I was graduating to it from my 2006 Alto and was quite thrilled. The powerful engine and the space it gave was more than what 'that kinda money' could’ve bought. My whole world fitted right in. (drove from Delhi to Mumbai with my wife, kid, my dog, 2 turtles, my bicycle and a hell lotta luggage). But I quickly became aware of its lack of refinement, stability, braking power, quality interiors and overall reliability. I had put a premium on real-estate and not on refinement. And I knew somewhere deep within, of what I will look for in my next car.

Time came to bid adieu to my Alto and thus began the search for a new second car.

Pre-search biases:

We have 2 VWs in the extended family. A 2011 Jetta MT and a 2013 Passat AT. I had become a fan of VW handling, its engine finesse and accurate braking. Skoda was another brand I was looking up to all the while for similar reasons. I found Hondas to be very efficient but a tad bit boring. Ford was a mixed bag all along. Had longed for the Fiesta 1.6s for a long time. But then they launched the new Fiesta *&%$. Eco Sport has sold like hotcakes, but it’s a middle of nowhere bland-spot for me.

My single line brief:

‘A vehicle which would be addictive to drive and fairly practical to drive all the time’.

Even a KTM 390 fitted the bill … well almost.

My daily drive:

I drive 60 kms on an average weekday. The drive comprises of tedious B2B traffic for nearly 80% of the travel time interspersed with 2 tempting patches on Palm Beach Road and Eastern Freeway. Quite a manic-depressive ride really.

Narrowing down to a ‘hot hatch’ was quite inevitable on hindsight.

Test-drives:

I started by looking out for Diesel engines. Giving more weightage to mileage and cost of running.

Ford Figo: Figo was fun and I took a test drive as well … but was no match on the fit and finish of VW.
Skoda Fabia: shelved ☹.
VW Polo Tdi: I took my 1st test drive on a 1.2 L Tdi. It was everything the forums said it ought not to be. The engine clatter diluted the refinement and lethargic response seemed to rub the mileage bit in your face a little too shamelessly.

VW GT Tdi: Now this was a ride to remember. I took her to Palm Beach Road and it was marvellous. The kick, the response, the controlled ride, the accurate gear-shift. And to top it all a pretty good claimed mileage of 15 – 17 kmpl. The more I read reviews and reports on team-bhp the more it seemed like an obvious choice. I disregarded the fact that I would still have to live with a hard-ish clutch pedal in B2B traffic. It was a tough ask to cross the ‘diesel=cheap’ mental barrier and to try-out the Tsi. Somewhere a deep acknowledgement that if I got the hang of an excellent AT engine (T-Bhp review), a diesel MT would somewhere seem like a compromise.

The pause: unconfirmed news of a new 2014 Polo with 1.5 L engines (which would replace the 1.6 L as well as 1.2 L engines) kept me cursing on the fence. The fear of buying (and maintaining) an engine that might get discontinued… globally. There was enough temptation to buy the 1.6L GT Tdi and maintain it forever… sigh!

The 2014 facelift Polo: I stepped into the 1.5 L Tdi with high expectations. The design facelift was pretty good precisely because they didn’t play around too much. Console sucked! The cheap silverfish grey – an eyesore for the clean minimalist design language of VW. The drive was good, engine was far more responsive than the 1.2 L Tdi, more refined. The problem was I kept benchmarking it against the 1.6 GT Tdi. A bias… yes, but a pretty strong one at that. It lacked the mojo, the teenage kicks, the thrust, the enthusiast’s high. It’s in this disappointment and desperation that I tripped over the mental fence. And TD-ed the GT Tsi.

The GT Tsi Test Drive was a point of no return.

I got out of the car and signed the booking amount. I had been doing a mental build up to it all week: reading and re-reading the official review and ownership threads, getting into prolonged chats with guys at the fuel station on how times have changed … ‘jab hum 45 rupaiye leeter diesel bharwaatey they’. Actually this isn’t so much of a bias as an alternative perspective – the difference in fuel and petrol prices has thinned away and with the GT mileage hovering in the 12+ range (more on that later), it seemed less and less like a impractical decision.

They were to deliver 2014 GT Tsi to me within 4-6 weeks. And guess what … they did ☺

The GT Tsi arrived within 4.5 weeks and it took about a week to sort out the bank paper work (I was travelling and couldn’t sign papers in time blah blah).

A quick note on the sales associates at Autobahn Nerul New Mumbai: Farhaan Ali was the guy who handled (quite literally) my case throughout the series of TDs from 1.2 Tdi to GT Tsi. He was very helpful and responsive and brought in the tech guy (Rehman) whenever there would be a TD or a technical query. A big thanks to them!!

The final on-road price was 9.30 lacs. They refused to give any discounts since it was a fresh launch of the face-lift. Contemplating a extended warranty purchase for the GT (at approximately 12k) for 2 years.

The handover and what followed:

The handover was smooth and in the middle of the day (arrrgghh). A quick visit to the seek blessings of gods. And I was itching to take her for a spin. And it has been the same way every morning for the last 8 days. What follows is a week and 777 kms of run report that captures a mix of varying ride conditions:

Daily commute – check (60 kms a day)
Outings with family – check (drove some 100 odd kms)
Morning spins – check (woof woof)
Highway run – check (Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai)

Design, aesthetics and functionality

Gentlemen! The 2014 GT Tsi (Carbon Steel)

2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7225.jpg
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2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7286.jpg

GT badge – clean and catchy
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7281.jpg
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The rear spoiler adds a sporty touch
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7244.jpg

VW's rally pedigree
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7242.jpg

The quality of finish in the exteriors is impeccable
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7260.jpg
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7272.jpg
On my first visit to VW showroom, I was told about the seamless welding in all the VWs and the solidity built into the body (of a hatchback!!!!) and this seriously impressed me. The priorities of this brand were not misplaced.


Boot opens up wide
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And has enough space for a weekend family trip
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7263.jpg

The interiors are clean and classy
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7201.jpg
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2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7217.jpg
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7274.jpg

The central console has a piano black finish (phew! i was dreading the tacky silver on 2014 facelifts)
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7216.jpg
There is a slot for every possible device: BT, SD card, Aux, USB
Although a touch screen nav would've taken the tech experience several notches up

But then again, VW 'less is more' can be seen as a counterpoint to Korean features overkill.

BTW i have nothing but scorn for over-designed stuff (and i own an XUV, ironical innit?!)

The steering is sharp, precise and elegant
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The white on black instrument cluster - understated and clean
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7218.jpg

The sweet DSG
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Aluminum pedals - sportiness under your feet
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7203.jpg
BTW the 'noodle mat' is a definitive add-on

The all-black interiors work well for my taste, Gives the GT a sporty and classy look. Just that the seat colors were a bit dull. Anyways seat covers are best left for personal mods.
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_20141025_114013090.jpg

Got black ribbed seat covers at the first instance
2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor-img_7235.jpg
They go well with the leather cover and stitching of handbrakes and steering

Ergonomics
The ingress got a bit of getting used to (since i was habituated to climbing my XUV). The GT ingress is more like crawling into a tank. But once in, the driver gets to completely customize his sitting posture and stance. The under-thigh support is adequate.

The drive:

As someone (or very many) has said in this forum the 1.2 Tsi engine is a gem. And the 7-speed DSG gearbox is able to just harness this refined engine immaculately.

The moment you turn on the engine, it goes into a meditative state. Utter silence inside the cabin and mild hum on the outside.

The overall AT experience: I have driven a couple of ATs on and off - an Honda City and Brio and VW Passat. I can vouch for one thing. This is the most fun AT machine so far. The gear changes are smooth (almost un-noticeable) and while there is a bit of lag in the 'D' mode initially, it is more than compensated by a slightly heavier push to the accelerator. On the 'S' mode on the other hand, the GT Tsi is sth like Neo dodging those slo-mo bullets. it is fast and makes sure the engine has reached its max power before it slips on to the next gear. This can be a bit annoying if the 'S' mode is called upon in a wrong situation. Its like a Rottweiler on a leash... its confused why you are not letting the leash go when you didn't want it to go for the kill in the first place. And a confused Rott is a growling machine.

The GT Tsi is actually 2 different cars in the 2 different modes. Let me take them up separately:

The ‘D’ mode:

This is the default mode for me. The GT gently glides over the tarmac on this mode. The upshifts are pretty quick to come by and by the time I’m cruising at 60 kmph the GT is already on D7. It’s the GT’s stealth mode in a way, as it quietly gathers speed and maintains perfect ride stability and sharpness. A light-footed drive took my mileage from 10.5 to 13.5 (when I realized I was being too heavy footed in the wrong mode). The city traffic is a breeze with D mode. The gear shifts (up-shifts as well as down-shifts) are barely noticeable and the power delivery is smooth and linear. Perfect for a stop-n-go rush hour traffic. If required, a hard press on the accelerator can thrust you forth by delivering 2X rpms. Once you attain higher speeds, it gives you a quiet but powerful ride. It made the highway rides pleasurable.

The ‘S’ mode:

Its hard to capture this mode in words. Its like the very same GT Tsi engine but with a different character. The upshifts happen much later and at much higher revvs, as a result the power delivery of the 1.2 L Tsi engine is at a very high level. The acceleration is simply intoxicating. The aggressive growl under the hood sends your testosterone high. It’s that perfect sound which the engine manages to deliver with a pulsating power-delivery. And that’s why I call it the F22 Raptor, the GT Tsi transforms from a silent high altitude cruising plane into an extremely aggressive and agile fighter aircraft in the ‘S’ mode. I’ve used this mode on shorter sprints as well as on highway to different results. While on a highway it just seems to deliver endless power (I was at 140 and still on S6 … on a vacant patch I must clarify) and gives you that rush. Using ‘S’ within city traffic is a less than easy experience. The down-shifts happen later and revv up the engine and so do the upshifts and you just feel like a teenager revving his dad’s car on the slight and out of control. Not worth putting in the ‘S’ mode in city traffic. On the ghats, the ‘S’ mode was at its best. Complete control and agility and the low power-to-weight ratio makes it zippier. The handling was immaculate in the ghat sections of the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

The tip-tronic mode:

Apparently the most fun mode. But haven’t gotten into that often. More on that later.

Ride quality:

Overall a satisfying experience. The thuds are audible but not enough to bother you. There is a firmness to the ride quality which is quite reassuring. Coming from an XUV, I was expecting the ground-clearance to become the real 'baptised by fire' bit for me, but strangely it has been an easy transition. Is it that they've improved the GC? or is the extra bit coming from the 15" alloy wheels? It took a bit to get use to the light steering wheel. But I wouldn’t be complaining about it at all. It is sharp and accurate. The wobble and roll is negligible (especially compared to my XUV).

My vantage point is the driver's seat really. But some inputs from my lady:
'its actually quite cosy, i was worried it would be too stuffy'
'it is quite comfortable, cant feel the bumps as much as i do in the XUV'
'I didn't think the pram could actually fit in the rear seat (boot being full of their travel bags)'
'AC is pretty effective'

On a serious note, my wife went from a ignore mode to a 'quite like it in here' mode in the first 2 rides' And that gentlemen, is the sound of unexpected relief.

Hill hold: sweet. Comes handy just when you need it. Intuitive and how.

Mileage: In-city mileage 12 - 13 (lightfooted driving)
Highway mileage 14 + (‘S’ mode used halfway)

Big misses By no means a deal breaker, but dampens the premium feel a bit:
Spare wheel ain't alloy (#$%^ apparently that wasn't the case till the last lot)
Spare key ain't a remote (again #$%^& I mean what the hell??)
Cruise control: isnt GT supposed to be a grand tourer? A cruise control is heaven sent on highway drives


OVERALL

My take on the official review's likes and dislikes (in parenthesis)

What you'll like:

• Enthusiastic, high-revving 1.2L TSI engine. An excellent performer (superlative refinement)
• 7-speed DSG gearbox is a flawless match to the sporty motor (smooth, intuitive and highly adaptive)
• A well-built European hatchback with clean, timeless styling (less is more school of design)
• Mature suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package (a sweet spot between enthusiasts tuning and daily urban practicality)
• Safety kit includes electronic stability program, hill-hold feature, dual airbags and ABS (uncompromising list for a hatchback)
• Accommodating 280 liter boot (fair for a short weekend trip - a full bag plus a baby bag and 2 laptop knapsacks)

What you won't:

• Long-term reliability concerns over the DQ200 DSG transmission (apparently has been in use across Europe long enough to establish reliability)
• Cutting-edge engine & gearbox tech make it a pricey hatchback (Duh!!)
• Exterior is indistinguishable from the regular Polo. No sporty bodykit ( la Liva TRD & Polo SR) (hmm ... matter of perspective really, Id rather let the engine/suspension tuning and equipment levels do the differentiation)
• Ordinary rear bench legroom. Comparable to the likes of the Maruti Ritz (True)
• VW's substandard dealership & service experiences. Maruti / Hyundai networks are more customer-centric (Been hearing this a lot, but VW autobahn showroom staff has been quite good so far... ASS is yet to be tested out)


Why go for a GT Tsi:
When you ‘want to’ ride everyday rather than ‘have to’
Refinement in engine, built-quality, aesthetics, ride and handling
1.2 Tsi and 7 speed DSG a rare sweet-spot
Mileage is very respectable
Classy and clean look, not kinky odd-balls

Who shouldn’t go for it
Those looking for a primary family car (would rather have extra boot)
Mileage is critical factor in cost of running
Excited by quirky design and aesthetics (I’d rather recommend i20)
Actually this part reminds me of trying to write the 'weaknesses' section in my college application

A big thanks to Team-Bhp mods and every member who contribute their experiences on this forum.

Last edited by Aditya : 5th November 2014 at 11:20. Reason: As requested
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Old 1st November 2014, 11:09   #2
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Default re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Even though its an awesome machine, the Indian version gets a trickled down feature list compared to the International variant



All pretty cool and useful features
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Old 3rd November 2014, 14:27   #3
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd November 2014, 14:55   #4
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Great review Inomad! Agree with everyword.

The car is a [Gem]ini !!
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:01   #5
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Congratulations inomad, on buying that brilliant piece of engineering! Nicely written review too.

I have driven the GT TSI once and to me its the best car to buy in that price range, if you're truly fond of driving! Its fun from the word go, has a proper sporty, quick car feel, being quite a handler at the same time!

As a Polo owner, just one word of caution, try and keep that underbody safe!
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:01   #6
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Hey,

Great review . Congratulation on your new car.

May be you could also plan for the following upgrades
- Upgrade the light bulbs to "Osram night breaker unlimited"
- If possible also install the underbody cover(engine/sump guard). Available with VagTune.

Can you please share some more photos of the seat cover?

Last edited by shetty_rohan : 3rd November 2014 at 15:09.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:23   #7
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetty_rohan View Post
May be you could also plan for the following upgrades
- Upgrade the light bulbs to "Osram night breaker unlimited"
- If possible also install the underbody cover(engine/sump guard). Available with VagTune.
Hi Rohan,

Given you have a 2013 model, I've heard the throw of light is better for the 2014 models. This was just an observation by one of the fellow members driving my 2014 model.

Also, how much did the underbody cover cost you? And assembly can be done through any local workshop right?
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:34   #8
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Quote:
Originally Posted by amanomics View Post
Given you have a 2013 model, I've heard the throw of light is better for the 2014 models. This was just an observation by one of the fellow members driving my 2014 model.
May be true :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by amanomics View Post
Also, how much did the under-body cover cost you? And assembly can be done through any local workshop right?
All diesel Polos have underbody cover(called as sump guard). I got this one installed on my TSi through the VW dealer. This required some drilling and wielding. Costed me around Rs. 10,543.
Vagtune has this http://www.vagtune.in/index.php/volk...fit-kit-detail which costs around Rs 13,740
I am not sure about the Vagtune underbody cover installation(whether is required drilling).
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:37   #9
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Hey,
Great review and congrats on getting the best hatch.

Quote:
Spare key ain't a remote (again #$%^& I mean what the hell??)
I got the new 1.5L Diesel Highline and the spare key is a remote.
I know you have already driven some miles, but I think you should upgrade the tires to 205/55.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:37   #10
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetty_rohan View Post
All diesel Polos have underbody cover(called as sump guard). I got this one installed on my TSi through the VW dealer. This required some drilling and wielding. Costed me around Rs. 10,543.
Vagtune has this http://www.vagtune.in/index.php/volk...fit-kit-detail which costs around Rs 13,740
I am not sure about the Vagtune underbody cover installation(whether is required drilling).
Ok thanks for the info. Will check with my dealer first then!
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:43   #11
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Congrats on the new GT TSi.

My cousin took delivery of the new GT TDi few days back. The GT twins are the best hatchbacks out there in the Indian market presently. Period.
Quote:
Originally Posted by inomad View Post
Even though its an awesome machine, the Indian version gets a trickled down feature list compared to the International variant
Never knew that it came with such high-end features internationally. Radar assisted cruise control? Wow!
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Old 3rd November 2014, 15:45   #12
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Quote:
Originally Posted by inomad View Post

Gentlemen! The 2014 GT Tsi (Pepper Grey)
Congrats inomad on your latest acquisition. Its simply Grey(Gor)geous !!

I had not seen this shade of the Polo until your post. I had seen the Elite I20 in a similar shade and thought it looked a million bucks worth.

But this shade on the 2014 Polo is a Stunner.


Quote:
Originally Posted by inomad View Post


Even though its an awesome machine, the Indian version gets a trickled down feature list compared to the International variant
If not anything else, VW India must have atleast considered the 'Blue Shade' of the International Polo in India. This would have upped the GT factor completely.

In any case, wish you many more happy miles and drive safe.

Last edited by Vik0728 : 3rd November 2014 at 15:48.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 16:39   #13
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Congrats inomad for your acquisition.

Polo GT TSI is one hell of a machine which truly symbolises the fact that it is built for the enthusiasts. Unlike cars which taglines itself as "Sports", this is one car which sets a proper benchmark for sporty hatchbacks. I must say pepper grey colour gives a more premium touch for already premium hatchback.

Once again hearty congratulations and ride safe
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Old 3rd November 2014, 16:44   #14
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Dude you are literally living my dream.

And I thought the GT TSI is only available in white, black, and red. Have they introduced more colors in the 2014 facelift? My Polo is pepper grey and it is an absolutely stunning color. There are times when I stand at the window and look at my German princess catch the rays of the morning sun. Sigh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inomad View Post
Spare key ain't a remote (again #$%^& I mean what the hell??)
Seriously? VW is really cutting corners here. My 2013 Polo Highline came with two remote keys...

Quote:
Originally Posted by inomad View Post
Contemplating a extended warranty purchase for the GT (at approximately 12k) for 2 years.
Get it ASAP!

My next car, whenever I buy it, is going to be a pepper grey Polo GT TSI. Remember ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 3rd November 2014 at 17:01.
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Old 3rd November 2014, 16:46   #15
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Default Re: 2014 VW Polo GT TSI - The Grey Raptor

Congratulations on getting the hottest hatch in the country!! Got mine a week back (same colour) and I have the same feedback. It's a pleasure to drive around.

The Carbon Steel colour is a dust magnet, so invest in a Jopasu or other quality duster. Wish you many happy miles!! Enjoy every bit of it.
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