When a VW Polo GTI and a Polo R-Line stand next to each other, they might be mistaken for the same car.
For those less in the know, they also look like they could have the same performance.
They are, however, very different.
For example: the GTI puts out 147kW from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
Its closest rival in the Polo lineup then comes from the Highline option with a smaller engine – with power output rated at 85kW.
Where does the “R-Line” then fit in?
Well, it is not a car option by itself. It is a Polo Highline with an “R-Line” package fitted.
The comparison doesn’t lie between the GTI and R-Line then, but between the Polo GTI and the Polo Highline with the R-Line set added.
To start, let’s get the numbers out of the way.
The VW Polo Highline 1.0 TSI has a starting price of R367,600 – this gets you a standard-looking Polo with 16-inch “Las Minas” alloy wheels and cloth trim seats.
No fancy bumpers or skirts, no 17-inch wheels, no spoiler, and no LED lights.
To get this car as close to GTI spec as possible you need to opt for the R-Line package.
Getting it installed is not so straightforward though, and there are a multitude of options that the R-Line package would be “incompatible” with if not selected.
- R-Line interior and exterior package – R20,800
- Adaptive cruise control with speed limiter – R5,150
- Blind spot monitor with electric folding mirrors – R4,300
- Park distance control – R3,500
- 17-inch Bonneville alloy wheels – no additional cost.
As LED headlamps are also fitted as standard to the GTI, they need to be separately optioned to the Highline for R13,850.
This brings the grand total of extras up to R47,600, and the price of the Polo Highline with R-Line package installed to a grand total of R415,200.
The VW Polo GTI has all the features above as standard – with a starting price of R437,700.
At just over R400,000, both cars now offer quite the extensive feature list and it is easy to see why the Polo range remains a high-seller in South Africa.
On the outside, both have automatic LED headlights and rain sensors, both are sporting 17-inch alloy wheels, both have a more pronounced spoiler, and both receive sportier looking front and rear bumpers – along with the appropriate nomenclature for the trim.
Moving to the inside, you will still find fabric seats on both – as leather sports seats with heating are a R9,950 option. It is worth noting, though, that the GTI’s fronts seats are heated as standard.
A leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel, gear shift knob, and handbrake lever then add further detail – and the touchscreen Composition Media system headlines the dashboard with app-connect capabilities and USB and AUX inputs.
Additional features such as hill start assist, a multi-information display in the instrument cluster, and Volkswagen’s high quality safety systems are also fitted.
These cars are remarkably similar in pricing once the R-Line package has been optioned to the Polo Highline.
Additionally, both are sold with a 3-year/45,000 km service plan as standard.
The main upside to the GTI, however, is the performance – and the GTI will easily outsprint its slightly-cheaper sibling from 0-100km/h.
Of course, you also receive a GTI badge on your top-end Polo, which is worth a head turns when driving around.
It is for this reason that I would recommend buying a Polo GTI if you are in the market for a good-looking, well-equipped new Polo that is also very fast.
If speed and power are not your concern, but you still want flashy looks, rather buy the Polo Comfortline trim level and add the R-line package.
This saves you R44,500 compared to the Polo Highline option detailed above.