VW Up! GTI Crams The Go-Fast Treatment Into A Smaller Package [w/Video]

To many enthusiasts (and with apologies to Peugeot), the letters GTI mean one thing and one thing only, and that’s a hot Golf. But Volkswagen applies the treatment to smaller Polo as well. And now it’s going even smaller.

Set to debut next week before the gathered enthusiasts at Lake Wörthersee is the Volkswagen Up! GTI. Though the show car is billed as a concept, VW promises a production version to follow early next year.

To live up to the name, the city car has been upgraded to 113 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. (Though the turbocharged engine’s other parameters have not been disclosed, other versions of the Up! Employ a 1.0-liter inline-three.) With only 1,786 pounds to motivate, that’s said to be enough for a 9.0-second 0-62 time and a top speed of 122 miles per hour.

Now before you go turning up your nose at those figures, VW’s eager to point out that it’s pretty close to the specs of the original MkI Golf GTI. That “ur-GTI” produced slightly less at 108 hp, weighed more at nearly 2,200 lbs, yet somehow ran a slightly better (but roughly comparable) 0-62 time of 8.8 seconds but topped out at 113 mph.

Numbers aside, the Up! GTI is made to look the part, with a red-striped honeycomb grille, aero upgrades, a suspension lowered by 0.6 inches, 17-inch alloys, and an interior with leather-wrapped steering wheel, round shift knob, and – most important of all – plaid seat upholstery. When it hits the market, it’ll come in red, white, dark silver, black, or light blue. No matter the color, it’s sure to be a hoot to drive, and a natural rival to the Renault Twingo GT and Smart Forfour Brabus.

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  • TheHake

    Man I won’t mind having that Golfie in that video! It’s in great nick. I’m pretty sure it will kick the Up!’s but on a track. The handling on a Golf I is great!

    • Matt

      I doubt it. Modern suspension, brake and tire technology has come a long way since the Mk1.

      • TheHake

        True, but real world grip and cornering ability is a funny thing. It has some much to do with the poise of the car, it unbelievable. Did you see the MT video where the brand new BMW 340i could not beat an almost 30 year old 325i wagon around a handling track?

  • Carmelo Van Cabboi

    Wow this is a very no-sense car… A washing machine that aspires to be a car

    • DMJ

      Non-sense car? A city car with high-performance? You mean like the Original Mini Cooper and Cooper S, the original Fiat Abarth 500/600, the first Golf GTI, the Peugeot 205 GTi, VW Polo G40, Renault 5 GT Turbo and all those mythical small cars that now are very expensive to buy? Opinions…

      • Carmelo Van Cabboi

        What What What?!?!?!? Are u really westing ur time to reply at my post making a comparing between the VW UP! with a Mini or 5oo Abarth? I drove a friend UP and belive it has nothing to do with the mentioned CARS. The UP is something closer to a washmachine but not a car. Is not a car and for sure itsn’t a sport car. Its chassis has never been thought to be sporty and it’s not, it’s called marketing man!!

        • DMJ

          Carmelito, calm down and breathe.
          The original Mini, the original 500 and even the original Golf, were created to be practical and cheap, so the masses could afford a car, most of the time the first car and the only car of the family. They were not engineered to be fun or to be sporty, neither to have a sports version in the future (if you know the history behind the creation of the GTI, for example). So, if the UP GTI is well engineered and fun, it might be in the heritage line of these cars, bacause a new GOLF GTI or similar cars are now very expensive and powerfull.

          • Carmelo Van Cabboi


  • Mr_Fanta_Pants

    Don’t apologise to Peugeot, they use GTi, not GTI.

  • fabri99

    Love the idea, hate the execution. It was their chance to make the Up! a little more funky and desireable. But no, let’s make it ugly and unoriginal.

    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      A bit of a F*ck Up!, would you say?

      • fabri99

        oh shut Up! already

        • Obsequious Lickspittle

          I’d guess the new Suzuki Swift Sport when launched will kick the UP!’s butt, hard scratchy plastics notwithstanding.

          • fabri99

            Can’t wait for the Swift Sport!

        • alexxx

          You 2,just give Up!

          • fabri99

            No you see, you just have to stand Up! for what you believe in.

          • alexxx

            Oh please,wake Up! :-))

        • Tumbi Mtika

          What’s Up! everybody?

    • alexxx

      mission imposible to make UP desireable…

  • 42 42 42

    “Now before you go turning up your nose at those figures, VW’s eager to point out that it’s pretty close to the specs of the original MkI Golf GTI…”

    Yeah that was FORTY TWO years ago mate…! What was your laptop like 42 years ago…??

  • DuDE

    170lbft looks a little suspicious for a little 1L three..otherwise a great little car

  • Ilbirs

    Considering how narrow is the NSF platform engine bay, I’m still trying to figure out how VW managed to mount a six-speed gearbox in it.

  • KidRed

    Tune this puppy, FTW!!

  • Benjamin B.

    I like it.


  • Tumbi Mtika

    God that Up! is so [email protected]#$ing cute. I want it.

    Please bring it here, Volkswagen.

  • Vassilis

    Really cool car.

  • SteersUright

    Nothing this slow should wear a Gti badge. Call it sports, “S”, whatever else, not Gti

  • Dick

    Maybe by 2025 they’ll finally have a TDI version too, just like the Lupo.

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