Volkswagen‘s 1.2-litre turbo-charged Golf is one example of a new generation of smaller petrol engines that also deliver on performance.

While it’s a far cry from the fleet-friendly figures found in its Bluemotion equivalent (emitting 99g/km compared to BusinessCar’s ride at 134g/km), it falls into a 15% benefit-in-kind band, only two rankings above the most popular business model, a 1.6-litre TDI, yet is 0.7secs faster and £1300 cheaper.

Spec on the low-trim S model includes electric-heated door mirrors and MP3-compatible CD. The audio system everyone really wants costs an extra £715 and hyperactive parking sensors complete with rear view camera add £580.

Obviously, drivers lose out on fuel economy with official figures of 49.6mpg, notably less than the 62.8mpg on the 1.6 diesel, making the latter a wiser fleet choice.

Still, no-one would guess this is a 1.2-litre engine: it’s refined, with good handling and performance. At 40.9p per mile to run, it’s not off the cards for fleet drivers who want to run something a little more fun.

Golf S 1.2-litre TSI 104hp 5dr 6sp manual
P11D price £16,430
Model price range £14,850-£30,885
Fuel consumption 49.6mpg
CO2 (tax) 134g/km/(15%)
BIK 20/40% per month £41/£82
Service interval Variable
Insurance group 13
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 350/1305 litres
Engine size/power 1197cc/104hp
Top speed/0-62mph 118mph/10.6secs
On sale January 2009
Score 7/10
Verdict 1.2-litre much better
than you’d think