Can slow and steady ever win the race?
In Volkswagen’s latest challenge it certainly can.
The challenge sees Volkswagen pit the new Golf GTI, Polo GTI and UP! GTI against one another in a drag race. But there’s a catch. The winner of this race is the car that accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) the slowest. Here’s the rules:
The drivers must start at the same time and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h as slowly as possible. The drivers must accelerate constantly – they are not allowed to reduce engine speed, brake or maintain speed. They can approach the test in any way they like so long as those rules aren’t broken. Interesting, right?
So, here’s the thing – in a straight out drag race, the natural order would come to fruition here (in this case, the natural order being power graphs and where each model sits in VW’s line up). The Volkswagen Golf would win, followed by the Polo in second place and the UP! some way behind in third. That expectation is normal because we’ve seen it all before. Drag races like this are a spark plug a dozen and predictable.
This one isn’t. So, who do you think will come first?
Watch it for yourself:
The test starts on the count and after just a few seconds, it quickly becomes clear that ANY throttle input has a catastrophic effect on speed. The slightest heaviness underfoot causes each car to leap ahead of the other or claw back lost ground. Ordinarily that would be a good thing, but not in a test where slow and steady wins the race!
What we’re left with after 30 seconds is a two-horse race, because the Volkswagen Golf GTI reaches 62mph after just half the distance has been covered. It’s then up to the Polo GTI and UP! GTI to battle it out. Both drivers do a great job but ultimately the UP! GTI gets there faster, so the Polo GTI wins the race.
The time for the Polo GTI was an agonisingly slow 2:57:05. The official 0-62mph time is 6.7 seconds, some way faster than the winning time.
New GTI models
The new Volkswagen Polo GTI has the same 0-62mph time as the MK5 Golf GTI, which is one of the most popular high-performance used Volkswagen Golf bargains. It’s the fastest production Polo GTI ever, beating the 6R’s 6.9 second 0-62mph time (incidentally, the most popular used Volkswagen Polo GTI is the 6R with the 1.4 TSI engine).
The UP! GTI is the slowest GTI available today, but it’s perhaps the most characterful with a buzzy 1.0 TSI three-cylinder engine and short wheelbase.
These translate to nippy performance and go-kart handling. The peppy little UP! more than holds its own on a country road too, although the bigger engines of the Polo and Golf GTI offer more performance out of corners and on the straights. But that’s to be expected and isn’t an insult to the UP! GTI. It’s a cracking little car.