Beauty in Balance

Donec egestas diam arcu, id auctor turpis porttitor ac. Nulla feugiat justo mauris ( Photo by: jont dore )


February 15

You don’t get any more VAG-addict than this guy. He loves VWs, has a Skoda at home and makes a living out of the Audi service centre, close by. To get there, Vishnu Anil, depends on his Polo 1.6- the only four cylinder engine in the Polo range. And that, by hot hatch standards, is best termed ‘warm’. But Vishnu had other plans on how to hotten up everything.

He went for a subtle yet classy partially murdered-out look on his car. All the chrome details on the front grille were turned black by a clean coat of lacquer while the rear has been totally debadged except for the VW logo that doubles as the boot release handle. Black Lenso 17 inchers and dark tint completed the effect. It all looked even better when he lowered the car on to some Bilstein B14 coilovers, but for added effect, Vishnu got some 20mm spacers at the rear, just so that the rear wheels line up properly with the arches.

To give it some extra go, there are some stage-I mods, like a cold air intake system from Green and a custom fee flow exhaust from Red Rooster Performance. The combination of a deep intake growl with a suitable loud exhaust burble was intoxicating. Polo 1.6 had good midrange performance, so it was top end that sees most improvement here. The engine picks up revs more easily and doesn’t feel out of breath nearing the red line, like it does on the stock car. On the back roads where we had this shoot, it was massive fun, hurling the car through what looked like a chicane. The steering feel is massively helped by the Bilsteins and proper damping lets you throw the vehicle into a corner without upsetting its balance.

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Other than the exhaust which is poorly finished, Vishnu, is quite happy with his car. He is so enthusiastic about it that the two days prior to our photoshoot, he was running around to get it polished and the seats reworked by Vanquish – something he had put on hold for quite some time. Audio rates quite high in his book too, as you can see from the JVC touchscreen head unit to the twin amps in the boot one of which powers a Kicker subwoofer. For us, we love the all-rounded nature of this daily driver.

Get the turbo on boost and it is a different story altogether. The car accelerates forward in proper tuned car fashion. There is no let up in power till 5500rpm and though most enthusiasts complain about the rev limit being lower on turbocharged cars, but there is no denying they are fast in every gear. This particular Laura sounds rorty thanks to its uprated Miltek exhaust system I got to throw around Ketan’s car on the same twisty bits where I did the Honda BRV that morning. Not only could I carry almost double the speed through a follow through, it still felt like child’s play in the Laura. The combination of good grippy tyres and the Bilstein B14 coilovers is hard to beat in the corners. Yes, these track focussed coilovers are a bit stiff for daily use, but it offers supercar levels of grip in the corners. The chassis feels even tighter thanks to Eibach antiroll bars and polyurethane bushes all around. And the Tarox G88 brakes with Strada pads are so confidence inspiring, you soon forget you are doing silly speeds all the time.

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