01 November 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Petite performance package:
the Volkswagen GT Up concept

‘Small, but perfectly warmed.’ That’s how Volkswagen is guerilla marketing the GT Up concept, the latest almost-production-ready version of its new Up city car. By far the most pleasing (to our hot-hatch-loving eyes anyway) version of VW’s new baby to be unveiled at September’s Frankfurt motor show, the pint-sized package points to a possible new sports-orientated Up GTI, and we’re definitely in favour of one of those. Volkswagen states that the GT Up ‘promises to distil the driving pleasure of the seminal hot hatch, the GTI, into a powerful yet petite package’, and on looks alone, it ticks all the boxes.

Cue endless headlines about how the GT Up channels the original idea of the Volkswagen Mk 1 Golf GTI – it’s no surely no coincidence that both the weight and power of the two cars are similar. But, as the Golf GTI celebrates 35 years in the spotlight, why not make a fuss about a possibly successor that promises to have everything that light and nimble first-generation GTI enjoyed? Indeed, Volkswagen itself is making the comparison, and the GT Up employs the modern GTI wide-mouthed honeycomb grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels, similar to the ‘Watkins Glen’ rims fitted to the Golf GTI Edition 35.

The grille itself is flanked by twin cooling ducts which direct air to the front brakes, and LED daytime running lights. No details on the GT Up’s engine have been released, but with it heralding around 100bhp, we reckon on a version of the new 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit powering the standard Up models, or VW’s 1.2-litre turbocharged powerplant, if it can be made to fit under the GT Up’s stubby bonnet. Sporty addenda features around the back of Volkswagen’s hot tot, too, with extended side sills, a deep roof spoiler and black diffuser housing twin exhaust pipes all playing their visual part.

No images of the cabin have been shown, but Volkswagen assures us that it is ‘no less sporty’. The traditional GTI black roof lining is offset by anthracite-coloured sports seats, with the centres trimmed in a blue chequered pattern, again referencing both the modern and original GTIs. A gloss black dashboard and upper door trim panels are said to contrast well with the blue-ringed air vent nozzles, while a the driver threads the GT Up through crowded city streets and into the countryside with a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel.

Volkswagen resolutely states that the GT Up remains a concept for now, but that it ‘certainly received a favourable reception when it was shown at the recent Frankfurt motor show’. So, is production likely? We hope so, but don’t bank on the GTI-themed Up arriving before summer 2012. The order books for the standard three-door Up have recently been opened in the UK, with first customer deliveries expected in spring 2012. Available in three models ranging from £7995 to £10,390, two further special edition cars are available at £11,180. Visit your Volkswagen Retailer or Volkswagen UK’s Up website pages.

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