Mini and Ford are not officially involved in WRC, so they’re not part of this little head to head comparison of road going versions of cars currently competing in World Rally Championship. Ford does not even have a valid competitor in B segment at the moment, at least until the arrival of Fiesta ST. With regards to Mini, it does have a competitive road version of it’s John Cooper Works Countryman, with 160 kW worth of power from 1.6 liter turbocharged engine. But, sadly, Mini and Ford are not keen to admit they are taking part in WRC so let’s respect that and keep them out of this as well.
While we wait for Hyundai to join the fun, Citroën and Volkswagen are only two manufacturer teams in WRC, and this season could bring some intense and interesting fights between the two teams and brands. For a new team, Volkswagen had a great start in Monte Carlo, but they are equally impressive when it comes to their road cars division – they unveiled both rally and road versions of hot Polo R WRC simultaneously. And by numbers alone, Polo R WRC is very formidable oponent to Citroën’s pocket rocket, DS3 Racing.
After all, see for yourself in this brief comparison below – purely looking at numbers, cars are virtually identical, even the price is sort of similar if you don’t mind few thousand euro here and there. Yet, there are fine distinctions between the two machines. Polo R WRC is powered by 2 litre turbocharged engine and weighs 1324 kilograms, while DS3 WRC is much lighter car, sitting at 1240 kilograms, with 1.6 litre engine under the bonnet.
Both cars are not shy about their character either; Polo rolls on 18″ wheels and has a pretty nice aero package – not too deliberate, but classy and nice. At the same time, DS3 Racing is more in your face, boy toy and a stylish everyday road racer. Inside, Polo R WRC looks like a German car, but I like the steering wheel with the racing “mark”; DS3 Racing’s interior is again much more elaborate and full of engaging details. These two machines are really catering to the same crowd, but with subtle differences in taste and character, not surprisingly since one car is German and the other is French – you can hardly come up with more elaborate difference in culture of car design. As such, both Polo and DS3 are great examples of two different philosophies.
Now, the big question is, which one would you pick? Is Citroën your favourite thanks to the lower price and the fact that it’s so impressive on rally stages? But what about Volkswagen, the brand that is racing hard to become worlds top car marque, and has some impressive sales and service records to brag about – is Polo’s more discrete character more appealing to you, instead of the radical and outgoing charisma of DS3 Racing? Of course, it would be handy to be able to try them out first hand for couple of days, because these are not the kind of cars you really buy to sit in your garage. And numbers on paper are just that, numbers on paper – it’s what you can and cannot do with the machines on the road that counts as well. Personally, I would not mind getting my hands on either of the two. Or rather, would like both really, just for science, of course, and for a chance to compare them on a daily basis.
You can pick up larger version of the title image by clicking the very line you’re reading now. Prices below are taken from official brochures for German market, simply picked up the listed amount in each file.
CITROËN DS3 RACING - 31.210 € ENGINE: 1598 ccm POWER: 152 kW @ 6000 rpm TORQUE: 275 Nm @ 2000 rpm ACCELERATION: 6.5 s TOP SPEED: 235 kph COMBINED CONSUMPTION: 6.4 l/100 km VOLKSWAGEN POLO R WRC - 33.900 € ENGINE: 1984 ccm POWER: 162 kW @ ? rpm TORQUE: 350 Nm @ 2500 - 4400 rpm ACCELERATION: 6.4 s TOP SPEED: 243 kph COMBINED CONSUMPTION: 7.5 l/100 km