Polo Tuning performance mods

Car tuning tips:VW Polo Tuning"

VW Polo Tuning Guide

VW's small family car was the Polo. It has had a long production run and shares many features with its bigger brother the Golf.

As it is much smaller and lighter than the Golf the Polo makes a good tuning project and becomes a credible track day fun car with the right modifications.

Probably because of the threat to it's bigger brother the Polo engines were often under tuned and never quite up to the power figures of the Golf.

So onto our Polo tuning tips:-
Because the smaller engines were really built for economy, the 1.4 and lower engines are really a waste of time from a tuning point of view.

Before we detail your best tuning upgrade options as stages of tune, let's list the most effective tuning upgrades for you.

  1. Tunes & remaps - remapping, piggyback ECU's and aftermarket ECU's can all make decent gains
  2. Fuelling (injectors & pump) - when you've increased power you'll need to match this with more fuel
  3. Turbo upgrades - Improving the intake with a large turbo and better flowing intercooler will be the biggest power gain you'll see (but one of the most complex).
  4. Suspension Upgrades - always improve your cars handling
  5. Brake Upgrades - Even before adding power improve those brakes
  6. Intake - make sure your cars intake isn't restricted, use performance filters and intake upgrades to improve this
  7. Exhaust - as with 3 ensure there is not restriction in the exhaust, cats are the usual bottleneck

This video guide to tuning cars is a great starting point to work from in your project.

Stage 1 mods: 

Panel air filter, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 26mm - 40 mm.), Lighter flywheel, Remap, Alloy wheels.

Stage 2 mods: 

Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam, Power/Sport clutch, fuel pump upgrades.

Stage 3 mods: 

Sports gearbox, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam.

You can still perform the modifications we recommend to these smaller engines the 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4  engines but you should only expect a modest power gain of 7-15%.

Spending the same amount of money as you would have spent on mods you could do an engine swap and get a 150% power hike. (If you chose the awesome 1.8T VAG engine.)

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

By improving the handling and braking of the Polo you can really start to have fun.

The basic suspension is rather soft and there is lots of body roll so fitting stiffer shocks all round and dropping it 40mm will do lots to improve cornering grip and driver feedback.

In 1994 the Polo gets a major facelift and a decent engine option int he guise of the 1.6.  (There was also a 1.9 Turbo Diesel option.) The 1.6 engine will need some major work doing to it if you are after a good power gain and still you will only see a gain of around 10-20% for a large outlay.

The best work takes place inside the engine head. Ideally you should get some larger valves installed, and it is also worth you getting the head ported and polished.

A 3 angle valve job done will have a big effect on the engines efficiency and power. Increasing the compression of this engine will further maximise the power gains.

Blueprinting and balancing the engine will allow you to fully exploit the top end power of this engine and this will help to raise the rev limit.

Another option would be to lower the compression ratio of this engine and fit a supercharger or turbo. (The supercharger is generally easier to install but both require a remap and some fuelling upgrades!)

See our Golf article on the potential of the 1.8T engine. This was an option in some countries and makes for a great engine swap option. The later turbo diesel models respond very well to a remap and this can increase your power by another 20-35%.

Other modifications you should consider for your Polo engine. Fast road cams, air intake and sports exhaust & port matching.

Another option you may consider, which also works well on the diesel engines is adding a nitrous injection kit, this alone can add 25-50bhp more power to your engine.

What other modifications?
Brake upgrades are should also be a priority.

Fit brakes from the more modern Polo as these tend to be bigger and more efficient, and if you check the PCD and offsets you may find other suitable brake upgrades from larger and more sporty offerings from Seat, Skoda, Audi and even Porsche.

If the PCD does not match then you can upgrade your hubs and this will give you a wider range of wheels and brakes.

Further reading.
If you are into Polo tuning and want to take your car project to the next level  you consult the following sources.

TorqueCars have a comprehensive  Polo tuning article and also a very active, friendly and helpful Polo forum.

If you have any tips to pass on please use our comments box below and we will update this article, after all we are all here to share knowledge. Please also let us know if we've missed out an engine or performance mod that you feel should be included in here.

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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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One Response to “VW Polo Tuning”

  1. Hayden says:

    vw polo 1L 2000 model

    engine mods ? evan if it just changes it a bit