Almost four years to the day after we first saw the VW Up concept car, Volkswagen is unveiling the real thing.
The Up (which VW spells “up!”) is part of Volkswagen’s drive towards greater efficiency in the absence of diesel and electric powertrains by more traditional means: a small, lightweight chassis and tiny engines with below-average cylinder counts.
At 3.54 meters in length, its significantly smaller than a MINI, and will offer stiff competition to cars like the Citroen C1 and even the Fiat 500 in some respects. Moreover, this upmarket Fiat 500 rival will eventually spawn a new range, including a five-door MPV and an electric version.
Previewed by the Volkswagen Up E-Motion concept at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, it is expected to run a brushless electric motor developing a peak of 81 hp in combination with an 18-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery mounted in the floor of the trunk.
Rear storage is listed at 251 litres with therear seats up, and an impressive 951 litres with the seats liad flat.
Making its debut in the up! is a new generation of three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engines, with outputs of 60 PS and 75 PS. VW is offering the !Up with BlueMotion Technology, including a Stop/Start system, and says it’s able to offer a fuel economy of 4.2 l/100 km (60 PS) and 4.3 l/100 km (75 PS). Volkswagen says that the new !Up emits less than 100 g/km of CO2.
An important new safety technology system is the optional City Emergency Braking. It is automatically active at speeds under 30 km/h, and it uses a laser sensor to detect the risk of an imminent collision. Depending on the vehicle’s speed and the driving situation, City Emergency Braking can reduce accident severity by initiating automatic brake interventions – and possibly even avoid a crash.
The standard interior on all models is basic, but clean and well organised. In terms of styling, the dash, seats and side panels can be colour-matched to the car’s exterior paintwork.
The Up! will be the first VW brand car built entirely from scratch to come to market under Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn’s leadership.
“It’s a valuable addition to VW’s broad product portfolio,” said Tim Schuldt, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Equinet AG who recommends buying VW stock. “Small vehicles are becoming ever more important. The Up! will create a whole new model line with good potential to penetrate markets.”
It has a clean, contemporary, and upscale air about it, and its space utilization is exemplary. VW hopes its new model—available in entry-level “Take Up!,” mid-level “Move Up!” and top-of-the-line “High Up!” trim levels—will become a classless car, much like the Beetle.
The Up! is set to make its public premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show on September 13th and will go on sale across Europe in three-door form in December 2011. A more practical five-door version is set to follow during the second half of 2012.