Volkswagen has just revealed a near-production ready Up! GTI – the feisty small hatch we’ve all been waiting for. The little Up! is a cracking little car in any guise but its capable chassis has long been mewling for more power. I said it. You said it. Volkswagen has listened. The GTI concept you see here (come on VW – we all know it’s pretty much as good as signed off by now) comes equipped with a turbocharged TSI engine that churns out a claimed 200Nm and 85kW.
Volkswagen doesn’t say what the size or displacement of said TSI engine is but I’m guessing it’s the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder you find in the current Polo R-Line hatch (which, coincidentally, sounds fantastic). Now I’ll admit that these figures don’t sound particularly exciting exciting on paper. But when you factor in that the Up! GTI concept tips the scales at 997kg it all starts making sense.
Indeed, Volkswagen says that this machine can nip from 0 to 100km/h in 8.8-seconds. Top speed is a claimed 197km/h. In a world of traffic jams and scarred road surfaces, how much quicker do you really need to go? Slow car fast or fast car slow? The older I get the more I find myself siding with the former. Which is why this baby GTI really speaks to me.
What else can I tell you? Well the body rides atop 17-inch alloy wheels and sits 15mm lower to the tarmac compared to the standard Up!. The exterior has been raced-up (see what I did there?) with model-specific front/rear bumpers and features, in the olde GTI tradition, red pin-striping in strategic positions. Inside you’ll find tartan seats – a nice throwback to the original Golf 1 GTI than started it all back in 1976.
So. There is a god. Thank you Volkswagen for answering our prayers and finally building this thing. We look forward to driving it in 2018. – Thomas Falkiner