Good: unique interior, sporty styling.
Not so good: limited appeal due to Beats branding.
Volkswagen has teamed up with the headphone and speaker company Beats for a special version of the Polo hatchback. In fact, Volkswagen isn't the first to do so. Back in 2014, Fiat launched the 500L Beats Edition. The tie-in has the potential to be a marketer's dream; after all, what better way to get younger people interested in your entry-level cars, like the Polo, than by teaming up with a company like Beats? Cynicism aside, there is more to this car than just a powerful stereo system.
Just one engine is available with the Polo Beats specification, a three-cylinder 75hp petrol unit similar to that found in the smaller Volkswagen up!. Don't let the small numbers put you off; this engine is more than man enough for the Polo and while it might not be as spritely as the Polo BlueGT's, it provides plenty of power around town and easily handles motorway journeys.
The Polo Beats builds on the Comfortline specification and is identifiable by its unique exterior styling pack consisting of 16-inch 'Syenit' alloy wheels, contrasting door mirror housings, decals along the bottom of the doors and tinted rear windows. A small Beats emblem on the side panel of the door is the only exterior branding. As you get inside, there are Beats scuff plates on the sills and an interior that is very cool looking.
Some may not like the Beats emblems embossed into the front seat backs, but the light grey fabric inserts that have a triangular quilted appearance more than make up for it. With red stitching and darker grey surrounds, these seats stand out and make the interior look that bit more special. Red stripes on the seat belts along with a two-tone dashboard give the Polo Beats a more upmarket ambience, as well.
In addition to the Composition Media System is a 290W eight-channel amplifier with six speakers and a subwoofer, so your music is going to sound pretty good. The 6.5-inch colour touchscreen can also support Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink for easy smartphone connectivity - and Bluetooth also comes as standard.
The Volkswagen Polo Beats might be all about the sound system, but it's worth mentioning just how well it drives. The chassis might not be as impressive as the Ford Fiesta's, but the Volkswagen easily trumps the Ford when it comes to refinement and quality. You do notice the distinctive three-cylinder thrum from the engine under heavy load, but generally the noise levels from the road are kept to a minimum even at higher speeds.
Concerning fuel economy, the three-cylinder MPI engine nearly matches the economy of the larger 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines, though if you're after long distance economy in a Polo, it's worth looking at the 1.4-litre TDI diesel, though this can't be paired with the Beats specification.
As an overall package the Volkswagen Polo Beats turns out to be more than just a car with some high-end speakers, it's a stylish and well-appointed version of an evergreen car.