As with the regular Up, the GTI sits on the VW Group’s New Small Family platform, with a transversely mounted engine sitting in its nose and driving the front wheels. Powering the car is a 1.0-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder motor from VW’s ‘EA211’ family of engines. It develops 114bhp between 5000rpm and 5500rpm, and 148lb ft between 2000rpm and 3500rpm.
The latter seems like a particularly generous portion of pulling power for a car that tipped the scales at our test track at just 1003kg, and gives the Up GTI a much better torque-to-weight ratio than either the original Golf GTI or the Lupo GTI had. However, will a three-cylinder engine with fairly heavy counterbalance measures, that’s dropping away from its power peak by 5500rpm, encourage you to chase the redline as keenly as the screaming four-pots of great pint-sized hot hatchbacks of the past? We’ll see.
The Up GTI gets a six-speed manual transmission, as opposed to the five-speed gearbox available in the standard car. No twin-clutch DSG option is offered.
Suspension is made up of MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear, the car’s overall ride height having been lowered by 15mm in comparison with the standard model, and its tracks widened by 8mm both front and rear. The car rolls on 17in alloys of 6.5J rim width. The wheels, designed by VW’s R Division tuning arm, are each of 4mm less positive offset than the standard Up’s alloys and therefore deliver the car’s track width increase without any further hardware changes. VW press material on the car makes no mention of any specific changes to the car’s dampers or anti-roll bars, but it’s safe to assume both have been either retuned or uprated.