Polo Tuning

"Polo - The sport of kings!"

The Polo has a loyal fan base among our members and rightly so, it is a great little car.

Small nimble and agile. There are plenty of modifications around for it, especially since it shares the engine range from the Golf.

We've even seen some crazy Polo engine swaps but the 1.8T engine seems to be very well suited.

You have to get the right mods for your Polo or you will be dissapointed so follow our unbiased guides carefully and read up on which mods work, and find out which ones are a waste of time and money.

We'd suggest some power mods, braking mods and a few handling modifications are all that's needed to create a fun daily driver.  The turbo diesels are quite lively in the small body of the polo and make good projects. 

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Top end power should be your overall aim on the Polo with a nice fat peak torque band.

With our tuning guide your Polo can be both a track day fun car and reliable daily run around.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size. Look to the Golf engines for suitable donors (ask in our TorqueCars forum to get an idea of which engine swaps work the best.)

Polo Tuning modifications.

Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains as far as a bolt on part goes. Don't forget to uprate the fueling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. You can get a more snappy acceleration by fitting a fuel pressure boost valve.

Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Polo.

The gearboxes are noted as a soft spot and frequently need replacing. Rather than mess around with used boxes get a remanufactured one with tougher internals mated to a Quaife limited slip diff and never have this worry again.

Intake and Exhaust.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Induction kits work well on turbo engines and larger engines, for the smaller Polo engines you should go with a sports panel air filter. Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.0 inches.

A good fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never skimp or expect a standard clutch to cope.

Hangling and Wheel modifications.

Drop the car by as much as 35mm and fit stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances or you'll need to use really hard shocks.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. The downside to large alloy wheels on your Polo is that you alter your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance. Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory (low profile tyres will enable you to achieve this). In all cases we do not recommend going above 15-16 inches.

Please join us in our forum to discuss the Polo options in more detail with our very active and enthusiastic Polo owners. It would also be worth reading our car tuning articles to get a full grasp of the pros and cons of each type of modification.

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Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

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Your Constructive comments on this article

5 Responses to “Tuning the VW Polo – engine gearbox and suspension mods”

  1. Grant says:

    I only put on a K&N pan filter and decat my 1.4 polo and i can feel the difference already…i wish i could install a small turbo to my 1.4 motor just for the extra response to overtake quicker…

  2. Tom says:

    I have 6N polo with 1.6 engine. Looking for some serious mods and IT WILL BE AMAZINGLY OSOM IF I COULD FIND GUIDE “FITTING TURBO TO POLO 6N” from start to end..

  3. siya says:

    I want to know what about the 9n3 polo ???

  4. Marco Rossetti says:

    I’m away to buy a 1 litre vw polo off my friend and was wondering what’s the best mods to start with as considering an engine swap to a 2.0 golf gti engine

    • TorqueCars says:

      It depends which Polo version you have, I would recommend looking at the 1.8T engine, this responds very well to tuning and fits in most Polo engine bays. Focus on brakes and suspension before doing the engine swap. Some GTi, S3 or even Porsche brakes would work well but you might need larger alloys to house them. See what your local breakers have in stock and take some measurements.

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