The Volkswagen Polo GTI and Audi A1 40 TFSI are now slightly more powerful in Europe than Australia.
Power in the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is up by 5kW to 152kW, though torque remains unchanged at 320Nm.
The European market cousins also use a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and a petrol particulate filter, while the Australian-market Polo GTI and A1 40 TFSI continue to use six-speed DSGs and no PPF.
The changes are enough to give the Polo GTI a quicker 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the pre-update model.
A spokesperson for Audi Australia ruled out the update to the A1, while a spokesperson for Volkswagen Australia ruled out the running change for Australia.
Specific powertrain details for the facelifted Polo range – due in the second quarter of 2022 – have yet to be confirmed, though the updated powertrain’s pairing with a PPF is likely to be a sticking point for Volkswagen Australia.
We currently miss out on the six-speed manual Polo GTI here, which Volkswagen Australia attributes to its availability exclusively with a PPF.
Volkswagen’s Australian operations have had to offer different powertrain options in recent years.
The Mk7.5 Golf TCR, for example, used a six-speed DSG instead of the seven-speed used in Europe, with the European model also featuring a PPF.
In Australia, the new Mk8 Golf and Skoda Karoq 110TSI feature older turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engines, mated to torque-converter automatic transmissions.
Volkswagen Group Australia attributes this to the disparity in emissions regulations between Australia and Europe.
Australia still subscribes to more lenient Euro 5 emissions regulations. Europe moved to stricter 6d rules on January 1, 2021, and recently brought in the tougher WLTP emissions test.
Because the newer engines and dual-clutch transmission are more efficient, production is being prioritised for markets where they’re required to meet those strict emissions rules.