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First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Polo (On the iPhone, That Is)

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Volkswagen Polo Challenge by Fish Labs

Volkswagen Polo Challenge by Fish Labs

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The wait is over--the 2011 Volkswagen Polo is here and we've driven it.

That is, if you count the iPhone-based "Volkswagen Polo Challenge" that's been ticking off a million-plus downloads since it launched in March. The iPhone app puts the new Polo through its paces on a set of eight driving challenges, leaving you to push it to the adhesion limit.

With music by a group called Feinkost, the Polo Challenge starts off dramatically--as in, make sure your earbuds are in, and the volume's turned down a little. Once you load the game, you can play with all sorts of settings--music volume, sound effects, even choose whether to steer the 2011 Polo through the eight circuits with screen-based touch controls or via the iPhone's game-changing accelerometer.

Once you're underway, the Polo Challenge is more an audiovisual experience than a highly developed game. The tires squeal, the car moves and the courses change, but it has a limited shelf life. It's better than Audi's A4 Challenge app from last year--the touch controls have become more refined--but the Polo Challenge's 1990s-style graphics and Pong-like simplicity will wear off fast. If you're SM-obsessive like us, Facebook updates will take up more charge from your iPhone's battery, but you might not get bored with this on the first few tries.

What do we know about the 2011 VW Polo after playing the Challenge? Not much, other than being eager to get behind the real wheel. And we know where our VW dealer is nearby, thanks to a press kit and GPS-enabled dealer locator embedded in the game.

Download at will. In the meantime, you can see it all in this video review of the Polo Challenge narrated, apparently, by South Park's "Pip":

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