Even before the sporty new up! GTI model’s official UK showroom debut, Volkswagen’s exciting addition to the burgeoning GTI bloodline has already met with a rapturous media response. BBC Top Gear Magazine named it “pocket rocket of the year” CAR awarded the four-seat firebrand a rare five-star verdict after their initial experience of it overseas and style gurus GQ this week handed it their ‘Scream If You Want To Go Faster Award’ in the British GQ Car Awards 2018.
As desirable as it is affordable, the newest member of the up! family joins a stable of Volkswagen GTIs that now offers practical performance across three key models, with the up! GTI sitting alongside the recently-launched new Polo GTI and award-winning Golf GTI and Golf GTI Performance.
Available to order here from today this diminutive hot hatchback is offered in three- or five-door bodystyles with one, generous, level of specification.
up! GTI specifications
The up! GTI is powered by the most potent petrol engine yet offered in the model range: a turbocharged, three cylinder, 1.0-litre (999 cc) TSI which offers up to 115 PS (5,000 – 5,500 rpm) and up to 200 Nm of torque (2,000 – 3,500 rpm). This urge is channelled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, and enables the charismatic newcomer to sprint from rest to 62 mph in 8.8 seconds and press on to a top speed of 122 mph. In economy tests (NEDC, combined cycle) the new up! returns 58.9 mpg, equating to 110 g/km of CO2.
Weighing in at only 1,070 kg, and with a sports suspension set-up lowered by 15 mm versus that of the standard car, the up! GTI is as agile as it is engaging with a spirit that conjures up the spirit of the original MkI Golf GTI of 1976 – which today’s up! broadly matches for size and performance.
Styled inside and out to be an unmistakable member of the modern day GTI fraternity, the up! GTI of course boasts the famous GTI badge front and rear along with other details synonymous with the GTI such as the sporty honeycomb front grille, darkened side windows at the rear and bright, red brake callipers.
There are also red trim strips front and rear, bold 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome tipped exhaust and sporty twin side stripes that recall the styling of the original ‘70s Golf hot hatch.
Paint colours are also reminiscent of the Golf that started it all: “pure white”, “red”, “dark silver metallic” and “black pearl” are the options available with the roof of white, red and silver up! GTIs optionally available in contrasting “black”.
Inside, this sporty up! is distinguished by both traditional and modern GTI trademarks. From the recognisable ‘Jakara Red’ checked cloth trim on the sports seats (front) to the GTI gearknob and flat-bottomed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel – leather-bound and featuring contrasting red stitching – as well as the red ambient lighting and ‘Red 2D Pixel’ dashpad, the up! makes a real style statement.
Creature comforts are present in spades in the cheeky new hot hatch, too, of course with Volkswagen’s Composition Colour radio system with five-inch colour screen, 4x20W output via six loudspeakers, Bluetooth telephone and audio connection, a USB interface, air conditioning, heated seats, electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, and front fog lights with static cornering lights all standard fit.
The up! GTI is also one of the first Volkswagen cars to launch with a close-coupled petrol particulate filter. Its use reduces particulate emissions by up to 95 per cent. After flowing through the turbocharger, the exhaust gas gets fed directly into the particulate filter, which, with its special coating, also works in parallel as a regular catalytic converter.