Like every year, the 2013 World Rally Championship’s first race will be the Monte Carlo Rally. Even though the event won’t start until January 15, VW chose the Principality to host the launch of both its 2013 WRC racer and the road-going version that will make its motor show debut at next year’s Geneva Salon.
The Polo R WRC, which was displayed last March as a concept during the Wörthersee Tour festival, is a limited edition based on VW’s supermini that will be produced in just 2,500 units priced at US$33,900 (US$43,800) a pop. The order books open on Tuesday, December 11, though the first customers won’t receive their cars until September 2013.
A white paint job with blue and grey stripes, an aggressive front bumper with large intakes that’s supposed to echo that of the racer’s, 18-inch “Cagliari” wheels with 215/35 tires and a rear roof spoiler and diffuser make this limited edition Polo stand out from lesser versions.
Under the hood, the Polo R WRC houses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection. Its 217HP and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque easily shade the 177 HP and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of the 1.8-liter Polo GTI and are directed to the front wheels via a short-shift, six-speed manual gearbox, while 16-inch rotors and a sport chassis ensure, in VW’s own words, that handling “lives up to the rest of the car”.
The 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint is dispatched in 6.4 seconds and the top speed is a lofty 243 km/h (150 mph). VW claims that, despite the performance numbers, average consumption is just 7.5 lt/100 km (31.3 mpg US) and CO2 emissions don’t exceed 174 g/km.
In the cabin, the Polo R WRC features sports seats with an Alcantara middle section, a steering wheel covered in black Alcantara, black roof lining and aluminum-style pedals.
Standard equipment also includes head airbags, climate control, a front center arm rest, cruise control, rain and light sensors, an audio and navigation system, an alarm and VW’s winter package that consists of heated seats, headlamp cleaners and heated screen washers.
The second car launched in the grand event is, of course, the racing Polo R WRC with which VW drivers Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala will participate in the 2013 championship.
As dictated by FIA regulations, it is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This unit puts out 311HP and 425 Nm (313 lb-ft) of torque and employees a six-speed sequential gearbox and an all-wheel drive system with fixed drive between the front and rear axles and multi-plate limited-slip differentials front and rear.
Depending on gear ratio, the racing Polo R WRC accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in around 3.9 seconds and tops out at nearly 200 km/h (125 mph).