Volkswagen introduced the facelifted Polo a couple of months ago in all but the range-topping trim level. The lineup now consists of Polo, Life, and R-Line models to replace the traditional structure of Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline. A few weeks after introducing the updated supermini, VW teased the flagship GTI, promising the official premiere would take place before the end of June.
It's almost the end of the month and that means a debut is imminent, but not before the first (and probably last) batch of spy shots with a thinly covered prototype. In typical VW fashion, there's some sneaky body-coloured camouflage to make the car look like the pre-facelift version, but it's not fooling anyone. The disguise applied to the headlights and taillights also makes it seem as though we are looking at a current Polo GTI when in fact it's the revised hot hatch.
Gallery: Volkswagen Polo GTI facelift spy photos
The dead giveaway is the "GTI" badging on the centre of the tailgate, right below the VW logo. The new Golf GTI Mk8 has a similar look, much like the letter "R" that adorns the back of the Golf R, Tiguan R, Arteon R, and the Touareg R. Having seen the normal Polo R-Line, it'’s not all that hard to imagine how the GTI is going to look without the clever disguise.
As to whether there are any changes underneath the bonnet, your guess is as good as ours. The previous Polo GTI originally came with a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine rated at 197 bhp and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm). It was initially offered only with a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission before a six-speed manual was introduced. However, the clutch pedal was eventually retired.
Aside from axing the do-it-yourself gearbox, VW made another change to the DSG-only Polo GTI by bumping the 2.0 TSI's output to 204 bhp (152 kW) while torque remained unchanged. It's a smidge more than the 201 bhp you get in the Hyundai i20 N and the 197 bhp offered by the three-cylinder Ford Fiesta ST.
We will have to wait and see whether the facelifted GTI will bring other changes beyond the styling and tech updates introduced with the normal Polo.