Volkswagen has taken the unusual step of launching a new sporty Polo variant in two right hand drive countries and putting it on sale first in Australia, hardly one of its key markets.

Just two days after unveiling the GTI variant at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan, VW CEO Wolfgang Bernhard flew to Australia to show it off at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney on Friday.

Bernhard announced the car would go on immediate sale in Australia, which will become the first country in the world to receive the new model.

Bernhard said that, at a time of rising fuel prices, Volkswagen expected the Polo GTI to generate plenty of interest amongst Australian motoring enthusiasts traditionally more interested in large ‘sixes’ and V8s.

The new 110kW GTI is the most powerful Polo built in the line’s 30-year history.

It has a 1.8-litre, 20-valve, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with intercooler producing 110kW and 229Nm of torque, can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 8.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 216km/h.

The car rides 15mm lower than a standard Polo and has 205/45R16 tyres.

The three-door GTI has distinctive honeycomb grille, dual headlights encased in black, dual chrome exhaust pipe and rear hatch mounted spoiler.

Inside, there are special sports seats, leather sports steering wheel and gear knob, aluminium foot pedals and plenty of ‘GTI’ branding on seats and steering wheel.

The first vehicles reach Australia in late November where the car will cost from $A26,990 ($US20,300).