‘GTI’ – now there’s three letters guaranteed to spark intrigue in the Petrol News office and this time, the iconic acronym is being applied to Volkswagen’s already brilliant Up city car.
2012’s World Car of the Year has been leading the city car market for some time now but a souped-up performance version is something we’ve always dreamt of and now it looks like our dreams are finally coming true.
The VW Up GTI will go on sale early 2018, priced from around £15,000, and it has been hailed as a spiritual tribute to the original Golf GTI from 1976, due to similarities in size, power output and looks.
Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine, with a power output of 113bhp and 230Nm of torque that gets it to 62mph in 8.8 seconds with a top speed of 113mph.
If that doesn’t sound very much, it isn’t, at least when you compare it to the 1.4-litre Abarth 595 that can complete the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds. However, a sub-nine-second city car certainly qualifies as ‘pocket rocket’ in our book.
In further homage to the original Golf GTI, the Up GTI will be available in the same colours: tornado red, pure white, dark silver and black pearl, as well as a new GTI colour – costa azul (aka ‘blue’).
Stylistically, the Up GTI sets itself apart from the rest of the Up range with the red stripe across the radiator grille, high-gloss black exterior mirror caps, 17-inch alloy wheels and a large rear roof spoiler, while the entire car has been lowered by 15mm for a more menacing stance. There’s even the legendary tartan seat pattern from the original GTI.
Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, comments: “We’ve waited a long time for VW to give the Up the GTI treatment and it looks like they’ve totally nailed it.”
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