Having teased the car with a sketch last month, Volkswagen has released the first images of the facelifted Mk6.5 Polo GTI. The diminutive hot hatch gets the same visual tweaks and new technologies as the base model, paired with the all the tasty performance goodies that you’d expect from a GTI.

Power comes from the same 2.0 litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine as before, albeit with a slight power bump to 207 PS, or 7 PS more than before; maximum torque holds station at 320 Nm. Unfortunately for purists, the six-speed manual gearbox option has been dropped, with the revised DSG dual-clutch transmission – which now has seven speeds instead of six – fitted as standard.

Several outlets are quoting a zero-to-100 km/h sprint time some two tenths of a second quicker at 6.5 seconds. Beyond the uprated powertrain, the GTI formula remains the same, with a specially-tuned chassis that rides 15 mm lower than stock, plus the XDS differential lock by braking.

On the outside, the facelifted model is differentiated through the shapelier headlights, slimmer grille and inverted L-shaped taillights with sequential indicators – the latter bearing a striking resemblance to those on the latest Mk8 Golf. The GTI also comes as standard with IQ.Light matrix LED headlights, equipped with L-shaped daytime running lights that are joined together by an illuminated strip under the grille.

The sportier front and rear bumpers and black side skirt extensions are essentially identical to those of the R-Line variant, incorporating a larger full-width air intake with a U-shaped body-coloured insert and a rear diffuser-like element.

However, the GTI differentiates itself through the front honeycomb mesh with integrated quad fog lights, body-coloured rear diffuser and real twin exhaust exits instead of the R-Line’s fake quad “pipes”. The signature red striping on the grille, headlights and front fender appliqués remain, as do the 17- and 18-inch wheel sizes (the latter ditching the turbine design of the outgoing model).

Inside, the basic dashboard architecture remains, although the GTI-specific red panels now have a glossy finish. The flat-bottomed steering wheel has also been upgraded to the latest design with the new VW logo and red highlights, while the revamped gearknob (which now has the shift pattern diagram on top) also gets some red accents. You still get red stitching and the iconic tartan fabric upholstery.

The displays have also been upgraded, with the centre touchscreen now measuring up to 9.2 inches across. The infotainment systems available on the facelift are built on the latest MIB3 modular infotainment matrix, which feature an integrated eSIM for internet access. This enables We Connect and We Connect Plus internet services, a more advanced voice control function, access to streaming services and personalised settings using a Volkswagen ID. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Elsewhere, the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro has a higher resolution, while the steering wheel buttons and climate controls are now touch-sensitive, as per the rest of the Volkswagen lineup. The GTI is also now offered with the company’s IQ.Drive Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving functionality, using the adaptive cruise control and standard lane centring assist to accelerate, brake and steer the car.

@paultancars

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