While the German automaker is calling it a concept, the up! GTI – a fitting tribute to the classic first generation of the Golf GTI – will morph into a full production version next year.
VW is apparently going back to the roots of the first Golf GTI when less was deemed more, presenting the up! GTI as a tribute to the philosophy behind the original – this near-production concept is of course preparing for full production duties starting early next year. The Grand Turismo Injection philosophy means Wolfsburg’s smallest model in the current range gets the three-cylinder 1.0-liter TSI engine packing 115 horsepower (85 kilowatts) on tap, meaning it has 5 hp more than the car it references, which was presented back in 1976. With 115 hp and 230 Newton-meters (170 pound-feet) of torque, the up! GTI only has to move 997 kilograms (2,198 pounds). This time around, the Golf GTI MkI has the upper hand – it tipped the scales at 810 kg / 1,785 lbs.
No chance of comparison in terms of safety, of course, and even performance is better – an 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) sprint will be resolved in 8.8 seconds – two tenths of a second faster, while the maximum speed stands at 122 mph (197 kph) or 9 mph (15 kph) more than its inspirational model. The up! GTI also gets a modestly revised body kit with different front and rear bumpers, roof-mounted rear spoiler, and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. There are also lots of glossy black accents, a modified suspension 15 millimeters (0.6 inches) lower as well as black side strips and the traditional GTI red trim on the grille and on the black tailgate.
Inside the cabin, the flagship up! GTI comes with a sporty steering wheel in leather, and of course wearing the “GTI” lettering. Other amenities include the iconic eat pattern and the GTI gear knob. We fully expect the production car – starting production early next year – to look virtually identical to this concept prepared for the annual GTI Meeting at Wörthersee. It will become the base sporty offering, as it will be positioned even below the upcoming Polo GTI.