Rumours suggest a performance variant of the Volkswagen Up city car will soon be upon us and it could carry the iconic GTI badge. According to reports, the baby hot hatch is being fast-tracked for release to help raise the appeal of the firm’s competitor to the Abarth 595. Our render (above) gives you some indication what the new model could look like.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of it. In 2012, VW released the Up GT Concept (shown below), which gained more aggressive styling, more power and chassis upgrades over the standard car. Though rumours of a showroom-ready model were strong, it never materialised. More recent whisperings, however, suggest the brand has finally committed to bringing a fast Up to production.
If you can’t wait for the Up GTI, the brand has recently launched a new turbocharged 1.0-litre engine sitting halfway between the regular Up and the upcoming GTI – spec that model up in our VW Up deal checker.
New VW Up GTI styling
The Up GTI will take inspiration from the larger Polo GTI and Golf GTI models. We can expect the chrome strip running through the regular car’s front grille to be replaced with a red one, a gaping front air dam to sit in a deeper front bumper, larger alloy wheels, a rear spoiler jutting out from the bootlid, and a pair of chrome-tipped exhaust pipes poking out from the rear. Both three and five-door body styles will be available.
New VW Up GTI interior
Like the exterior, the Up GTI will gain a range of new styling flourishes inside to add a little more sporting intent. In a nod to the original Golf GTI, the Up could gain sports seats up front trimmed in tartan cloth, while manual gearbox-equipped models will feature a ‘golf ball’ gear knob. A leather-trimmed steering wheel with contrasting red stitching should help to lift the appeal further.
New VW Up GTI driving and engines
The recently facelifted Up offers a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine with around 89hp. A more powerful version of this TSI three-cylinder engine sits under the bonnet of the Golf BlueMotion and could find its way to the Up GTI. It produces 113hp and 147lb ft of torque and, when transplanted into the Up’s sub-1000kg chassis, it could accomplish an 8.0-second 0-62mph time – more than a match for the Abarth. A choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes will be available.
Those figures may be modest, but they nearly match those of not only the underrated VW Lupo GTI from the early naughties, along with the original Golf GTI – a car credited with kicking off the hot hatch craze in 1975.
The Up GTI will sit closer to the road than the standard car, courtesy of revised springs and dampers. The overall suspension setup will be stiffer, too, lending the Up the sort of sharp body control typical of modern hot hatches.
New VW Up GTI price and release date
In order to match up to the Abarth 595, the Up GTI is likely to be priced at around the £15,000 mark. Sales are likely to begin around 2017.
Save money on your next new car
If you don’t need the GTI’s excess of power, take a look at the regular Volkswagen Up deals page, where you can find an in-depth review along with all the latest discounts. For other options, our car chooser can help you out.