Volkswagen has announced a GTI version of the Up! city car and released a video in which the newcomer is compared with the car many people consider the father of the hot hatch brigade: the original (Mk1) Golf GTI! As exciting as it sounds, the Up! won't come to the South African market.
The Up! is one of our favourite compact hatchbacks and the Wolfsburg-based firm has expanded the range's lineup to include a GTI model. Right now what you're seeing is a pre-production concept car, but Volkswagen claims that it's extremely close to a production version.
The GTI's history is much-celebrated and this Up! GTI is remarkably close to the original GTI in terms of performance. Back in 1976, 81 kW was a potent output for a small car. In 2017, the Up! GTI produces 85 kW and 200 Nm from an enhanced version of the 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor. The littlest GTI is claimed to accelerate from 0-100 kph in 8.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 197 kph. It tips the scales at just under a tonne (997 kg) and the suspension has been lowered by 15 mm to sharpen the handling.
With sporty wheels, a rear wing and GTI badges, the Volkswagen Up! GTI looks the part. Sadly not coming to SA.
Visually, there is a plethora of GTI styling cues, with the trademark honeycomb-pattern grille and GTI logo at the front. There are also high-gloss black mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof edge spoiler, while the cabin boasts a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel, a GTI gear knob and sporty seat trim.
Volkswagen claims it'll go on sale in 2018 and when pressed for comment in terms of the likelihood of an SA launch, VWSA replied with: "We have no plans to bring the Up! GTI." Pity.
Watch the Volkswagen Up! GTI meeting the original Golf GTI
Volkswagen Golf Facelift Revealed [with Video]
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S (2016) First Drive
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport (2016) Video Review
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport (2016) Review
Is The Golf Segment Dying?
Comparative Review: Opel Astra vs Volkswagen Golf 7