Currently reading: Frankfurt show - VW Up unveiled
Cleverly packaged Up is set to be the group’s top seller; on sale in the UK early next year

The all-new Volkswagen Up has been revealed at the Frankfurt motor show.

The Up is a model poised to become the company’s biggest seller and a key component in its plans to assume worldwide market leadership by 2018.

After its Frankfurt motor show debut, the Lupo-replacing Up will go on sale in the UK early next year.

It will be priced from around £8500 — some £1000 less than the three-door Polo, according to Volkswagen officials.

Holding true to the look of the original concept, the production Up has a simple two-box silhouette. VW design boss Klaus Bischoff says the layout provides optimal space utilisation within a compact footprint, making the car highly suitable for city driving.

Among the more distinctive design flourishes is a large front bumper featuring a low-set, rectangular grille. This, together with round foglights and large, angular headlights, helps to give the Up a more expressive face than other recent new Volkswagens.

Pronounced wheel arch flares are aimed at emphasising the Up’s wide tracks, giving it a confident stance by small-car standards.

At 3540mm long, 1640mm wide and 1480mm high, the Up is 430mm shorter, 40mm narrower and 20mm higher than the three-door Polo. VW claims it has been able to provide the new car with class-leading levels of interior space through the use of a 2420mm wheelbase that provides the Up with ultra-short overhangs. Along with seating for four adults, the Up also offers 251 litres of luggage space, extending to 951 litres with the rear seats folded.

The 2007 Up concept used a rear-engined, rear-drive layout, which, according to Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn, provided the best possible packaging solution. But the production car has a more conventional transverse, front-mounted engine and front-wheel drive architecture, known as MQB.

The Up will be sold with a new turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine producing 59bhp, or 74bhp with added boost pressure. A five-speed manual gearbox will be standard, with an automated clutchless ’box offered as an option after launch.

VW isn’t making any official performance claims prior to the car’s unveiling in Frankfurt, although fuel economy in the two versions is rated at 67.3mpg and 65.7mpg respectively, with CO2 emissions below 100g/km. There is no diesel option, and a planned 86g/km natural gas-powered version is not coming to the UK. However, there are plans for a plug-in electric Up in late 2013.

Launch trim levels include the entry-level Take Up, a more comfort-orientated Move Up and the range-topping High Up. Two special editions based on the High Up will reach the UK: the Up Black and Up White, which come with colour-keyed interiors.

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