The Volkswagen Lupo was a car that had never been officially sold in the United States. In Europe, however, it was one of several city cars available during the first decade of the century. It was a charming small machine sold with three- and four-cylinder engines. Even in its most potent form – the Lupo GTI – it had a modest 1.6-liter mill with 125 horsepower. though. The black Lupo from the video at the top of this page has almost three times that output.

Obviously, this isn’t a stock Lupo GTI. This particular example has had its engine swapped and now there’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit under the hood. That motor is also not completely unmodified but all we know is that its output is around 360 horsepower. All that power is channeled through a manual gearbox only to the front wheels making this cute hatch quite challenging to drive.

The video takes us to an unrestricted section of the German highway. The Autobahn is that magic place on earth where, in certain sections, there are no speed limits and you can legally push your car to its limits. In this case, the limits of this modified Lupo GTI are unexpectedly high – in the second half of the clip, you can see it reaching about 158 miles per hour, which is pretty impressive for such a pint-sized machine.

Of course, the powerful turbo engine underhood can easily propel the small hot hatch to high velocities. In stock form, the Lupo tips the scales at around 2,150 pounds (975 kilograms) and even the larger four-cylinder unit probably doesn’t bring that number to more than 2,300 – 2,400 lbs (1,043 – 1,088 kg). There are limitations when it comes to wheel size, though, and you can see the car getting a little nervous when the speedometer gets closer to the 250 kilometers per hour mark (155 miles per hour).

The Lupo GTI was succeeded in VW’s lineup by the equally cute Up! GTI, which was discontinued in January this year. That pocket rocket had an even smaller 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine with 115 horsepower but the 0-62 miles per hour acceleration took less than 9.0 seconds. The entire Up! range will be killed later this year, though.

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