After years of Up! city-car concepts, Volkswagen has revealed a new production 2012 VW Up!, which could be on sale in Europe early next year.
During its various concept iterations, the Up! went from a rear-engine layout to a more conventional front-engine, front-wheel-drive small-car layout, and it’s now rumoured as the replacement for the Lupo lineup – perhaps even adopting the Lupo name in production. The production 2012 Volkswagen Up! is 3 535 mm long, slightly longer than the Mini Cooper, and is capable of an impressive 4.2 L/100km from its three-cylinder engine.
In a surprise move, however, Volkswagen has unveiled a number of new Up!-based concepts at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The most ‘out there’ of the Up! concepts, the Volkswagen Buggy Up! is inspired by the California-bred Beetle-based dune-buggy of the 60s. The Buggy Up! is strictly a design study, so don’t expect to see this one cruising the beaches anytime soon. As with the road going Up! city car, the Buggy Up! is built from ultra-lightweight materials, but this one gets a unique ground-up exterior design. Slightly longer and a touch wider than the regular Up!, the Buggy concept sits 20mm lower and rides on 18-inch alloy wheels. There’s a waterproof interior with neoprene seat trim, and a number of drains in the floor to stop the permanently-topless Buggy from flooding.
The Volkswagen Up! GT Concept is inspired by the iconic Golf GTI, and while its 75 kW turbocharged 1.3-litre engine doesn’t have the guts of its bigger stablemate, its 900kg kerb weight makes it an appealing-enough prospect. Styling tweaks for the sporty Up! GT include the familiar honeycomb pattern to the low-mounted grille, flanked by large intakes and LED daytime running lights. There’s also 17-inch alloy wheels, twin-exhaust tips at the rear, side skirts and a roof-mounted rear spoiler.
The five-door Volkswagen Cross Up! also made it debut at Frankfurt this week in the form of the Cross Up!. A European launch for the five-door is expected in the middle of next year. As with most of Volkswagen’s Euro-market Cross models, the Cross Up! gets higher-riding suspension, rugged bumpers at both ends and underbody protection. Volkswagen hasn’t specified, but as with the CrossPolo, it’s likely that the Cross Up! retains its front-wheel-drive layout.
Conceived by Volkswagen design boss Walter de Silva and the renowned Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Volkswagen Up! Azzurra is without doubt the classiest – if not the most unusual – offering in this round of concepts. Inspired by the nautical environments common to the upbringing of both, the two designers have gifted the Up! Azzura with an open-air cabin, rich wood trim, chrome highlights and a white-blue leather trim.
This one has been coming for some time, and its ‘unveiling’ at Frankfurt brings only a few minor styling tweaks since the last time it did the motor-show rounds. The Volkswagen e-Up! is scheduled to make its showroom debut in 2013, but it’s unclear if we’ll see this one in South Africa – at least, not right away. Power for the e-Up! is provided by an electric motor producing 60 kW and 210 Nm of torque. With energy drawn from an 18 kWh battery pack, the e-Up! will offer a driving range of around 130 kilometres.
The Volkswagen Eco Up! is expected to hit European roads before the electrified e-Up!, arriving sometime before next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Power for the eco Up! is provided by a 50 kW 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine running on compressed natural gas. Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology will also feature, including a start/stop system and battery regeneration.