Volkswagen is readying a 114bhp GTi version of the facelifted Up to take the fight to the hot baby Fiat
2 June 2016

Volkswagen has confirmed its plans to raise the image and overall sales appeal of its entry-level Up through the addition of a new range-topping GTI model.

Read our first drive of the Up GTI in prototype form

The new GTI model, which could be priced from around £15,000 in the UK, has been conceived to provide Volkswagen with a sporty rival to the popular Abarth 500 (now 595). It will use a powered-up version of the company’s newly introduced turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in a brand-building exercise under the motto ‘affordable performance’.

In the facelifted Up, the new EA211- designated triple delivers 89bhp and 118lb ft of torque. In the Up GTI, it delivers 114bhp, although a torque figure hasn't yet been given by VW. 

The new engine is due to be offered with the choice of either a five-speed manual or, although not confirmed, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Prototypes of the Up GTI are said to be capable of a top speed of more than 119mph and a 0-62mph time of around 8.8sec when fitted with the manual gearbox.

The recently revised Abarth 595 has a larger, turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 143bhp and 152lb ft in entry-level form and comes with either a standard five-speed manual or robotised automatic.

The Up GTI also receives a heavily retuned MacPherson strut (front) and torsion beam (rear) suspension with its own spring and damper rates, as well as a lowered ride height.

Autocar has already driven a prototype of the Up fitted with an early 104bhp version of the turbocharged 1.0-litre triple. The move to give it 114bhp is significant because it's not far off the power output of the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine used by the first generation of the Golf GTI, originally revealed at the 1975 Frankfurt motor show.

Together with the upgraded engine and revised chassis tune, the Up GTI is also due to receive a host of GTI-specific exterior styling revisions to reflect its added performance.

The Up GTI is expected to be sold in three-door and five-door body styles. VW insiders said that styling proposals give it different bumpers, 16in wheels with 205/40-profile tyres and wider sills.

Inside, VW provides the Up GTI with a number of traditional touches, including individual instrument graphics and tartan cloth upholstery. 

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

Join the debate

Comments
21

2 June 2016
Should make a great smaller sibling to the Polo GTI, too. If it's anything like the Polo (I have one so I'm a bit biased), it will be great fun... Maybe VW could build a GT version which is all show with much less go for young drivers? Shame Fiat have never built an updated Panda 100hp, though... That could be a cheaper rival to the Seat and Skoda versions of the UP GTI. Why, if the Ford KA is based on a 500, have Ford not offered a hot KA? Maybe they have, I can't rembember the last time I saw a new KA.

2 June 2016
Well I don't call launching a five year delay from when the original model was launched "fast tracking". You have to wonder why VW was so slow with this, maybe it was a fear of loosing too many Polo GTi sales? But given the minimal profits associated with building small cars, I would have thought that the up GTi was essential. Either way I want one, and I want it now!
By the way, I seem to remember that the original Golf GTi was a 1600, although only the later 1800cc models were imported into the UK.

2 June 2016
Yes, originally just a 1.6 with about 103lb-ft of torque at 5,000rpm. Terrible brakes. Terrible Hella headlights. Also just a four-speed 'box to start with, I think.

2 June 2016
In this age of ever growing car girth, this looks to be so much more relevant to todays motoring. Country roads suddenly seem wider with a car like this, and that should equal more fun more of the time.

bol

2 June 2016
I agree with the comment about the Panda 100hp. Ours is coming up for ten years old and still puts a smile on my face whenever I drive it. I like the sound of the Up GTI, but I think the future of fast, fun city cars probably lies with electric propulsion. I'd love to see a Zoe RS for example.

2 June 2016
I too would like to see a slightly softer "gt" version say 99bhp (or even just 89bhp which the new triple is already available in), but please please please VW make sure you leave a six speed box with it. To make it a mile munching motorway mini marvel.

2 June 2016
I too thought the original GTi was a 1.6? The 1.8i was introduced later, possibly for the Campaign models?

2 June 2016
We've been asking for an UP GTI for ages.

2 June 2016
I haven't been asking for one.

MrJ

2 June 2016
Yes please, though I hope the SUVs careering around my part of the Cotswolds don't squash it.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace P300
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Jaguar’s second SUV faces up to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Tough task, so is the E-Pace up to it?
  • Jaguar E-Pace D180
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Not the driver’s car many would hope from any car wearing the Jaguar badge, but the E-Pace is an attractive and interesting addition to the compact premium SUV ranks
  • Subaru Impreza
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    The fifth-generation Subaru Impreza is much improved from top to bottom, but a poor engine and gearbox keep it trailing in this competitive class
  • Ford Fiesta Vignale
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    We get a first taste of Ford’s poshest Fiesta in turbocharged diesel form
  • Seat Arona
    Car review
    17 November 2017
    Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?