Although a concept for now, the pocket rocket will in fact be launched in 2018.
With the up! GTI, Volkswagen wants to prove that good things do come in small packages like Renault is doing with the Twingo GT and Smart with the ForFour Brabus. Embodying the philosophy behind the original Golf GTI, the feisty car is being billed as a near-production concept and will actually hit the assembly line beginning with early next year. The Grand Turismo Injection treatment applied for the first time on Wolfsburg’s pint-sized model includes a three-cylinder 1.0-liter TSI engine with 115 horsepower (85 kilowatts) on tap, thus making it 5 hp stronger than its ancestor from 1976.
And while 115 hp and 230 Newton-meters (170 pound-feet) of torque might not sound like a lot of muscle, let’s keep in mind the up! GTI tips the scales at only 997 kilograms (2,198 pounds). Sure, it’s a lot heavier than the Golf GTI MkI (810 kg / 1,785 lbs), but it’s also considerably safer and actually both quicker and faster. Indeed, the 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) sprint takes a swift 8.8 seconds whereas the first Golf GTI needed an extra two tenths of a second. As for the top speed, go all out and the up! GTI will hit 122 mph (197 kph) or 9 mph (15 kph) more than its source of inspiration.
Aside from being more powerful than the regular up! models, the GTI also stands out thanks to its slightly more aggressive body with beefier front and rear bumpers, roof-mounted rear spoiler, and bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels. Numerous glossy black accents further set it apart from the lesser versions, while the sportier suspension setup brings the car closer to the road by 15 millimeters (0.6 inches). Rounding off the changes on the outside are the black side strips and the typical GTI red piece of trim applied onto the grille as well as on the black tailgate.
Hopping inside the cabin, the range-topping up! gets a sporty steering wheel wrapped in leather and adorned with the “GTI” lettering. Other goodies include the familiar “clark” seat pattern and the GTI gear knob as one would expect from any GTI-branded VW.
When the production car will be launched at the beginning of 2018, it will look virtually the same as this one. It will allow customers to embrace the GTI spirit at a more affordable starting price, one that will significantly undercut the forthcoming Polo GTI’s sticker
Meanwhile, the concept will be exhibited in the coming days at the annual GTI Meeting at Wörthersee where VW's apprentices are going to show a tricked-out Golf GTI from the current generation.
Gallery: VW up! GTI
World premiere of a new GTI:
First up! GTI1 is a tribute to the original GTI
- DNA of an icon: the concept of the 115 PS up! GTI follows the genetic heritage of the first Golf GTI (110 PS)
- Festival highlight: world premiere of the up! GTI concept car at the legendary GTI Meet at Lake Wörthersee (24 to 27 May)
- The production version of the 197 km/h up! GTI will be launched into the market early next year
A circle closes 41 years after the debut of the first Golf GTI: at this year's GTI Meet at Lake Wörthersee (24 to 27 May), Volkswagen is presenting a compact, sporty car very much in the spirit of the original GTI – the new up! GTI. The concept and power output of the 85 kW / 115 PS up! are broadly in line with the Golf GTI MkI presented in 1976 that had 81 kW / 110 PS. The near-production concept car pays tribute to this icon – with compact dimensions, a low weight, a powerful engine, sports running gear and the typical insignia of a GTI (including red stripes in the radiator grille, seat covers in "clark" tartan pattern). This sporty small car will certainly bring a new dimension of driving fun to the compact class. A typical GTI feature is the sophisticated sports running gear. It gives the car the agility akin to that of a go-kart, yet it also offers a high level of comfort. The production version of the up! GTI will be launched into the market in early 2018.
With the up! GTI, Volkswagen is building a bridge that spans four decades: when the first GTI was launched in the 1970s it democratised access to fast roads around the world – especially the overtaking lane of German motorways. Where large saloons and expensive sports cars had previously set the pace, the new compact Volkswagen suddenly stirred up the field. The red stripe in the radiator grille, the black double stripes across the side sills and behind, the black stripe on the tailgate immediately identified this Volkswagen as a GTI. Its 110 PS powered a kerb weight of just 810 kg and accelerated it to 100 km/h in 9.0 seconds. Top speed: 182 km/h. The colours for the market launch: "mars red" and "diamond silver". Later, white and black also became established as GTI colours.
The new up! GTI continues the creed of the lightweight and no-frills sports car with a compact format – from outside and inside similar in size to the original GTI. It is driven by a turbocharged engine (TSI) with powerful 230 Nm torque. The key data do indeed read like a Golf GTI MkI catapulted into the present day. Weight: 997 kg (significantly high-strength steels and more airbags). Vmax: 197 km/h. 0-100 km/h: 8.8 seconds. Colours: classic once again and typical of the GTI – the plain colours "tornado red" and "pure white" and the metallic colours "dark silver", "black pearl" and – as a new GTI colour – "costa azul" (blue).
The most powerful up! to date is immediately recognisable with its typical GTI insignia. At the front for instance the red stripe across the radiator grille with honeycomb pattern. Integrated above it is the GTI logo. Here the up! cites the archetypal GTI with features such as the double stripes across the wide side sill panels. The exterior mirror caps are in high-gloss black; the 17-inch alloy wheels have also been completely redesigned. They have a particularly dashing look in the wheel housings because the up! GTI features sports running gear, lowering the body by 15 mm. GTI features also characterise the rear: here, among other things, a red strip as well as a larger roof edge spoiler provides for greater downforce on the rear axle for optimised handling performance at higher speeds. The interior includes features as a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel, a GTI gear knob and the legendary "clark" seat pattern. The fact is: this GTI does not just look like one – it also drives like one. A new original.