The Volkswagen up! city car has been given the full GTI works, bringing more power, sportier styling, improved tech and even more.

  • Uprated engine pushes 115 bhp, 0-62 mph in 8.8 seconds and 122 mph top speed
  • Styling changes include new body panels, paint colours and alloys
  • Inside receives usual GTI updates such as tartan-upholstered seats
  • Goes on sale in 2018 at roughly £14,000

Volkswagen launched the up! in October 2011 to act as a small city car positioned beneath their Polo model, offering a low-cost, economical car for those that simply want to potter round town. Sales initially started slow with only 4,582 models sold over the first three months, but the following year it went on to sell a crazy 113,827 units and even claim the prestigious World Car of the Year award.

Volkswagen up! GTI 2017 - Rear Volkswagen up! GTI 2017 - Front

Fast forward to today, and Volkswagen have decided to give the up! the GTI treatment. As with all GTI models, the up! receives greater power, with its 1.0-litre turbocharged straight-three boosted from 99 bhp to 115 bhp. This extra power coupled with its six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive layout means the up! can hit 0-62 mph in 8.8 seconds with a top speed of 122 mph.

The GTI name has always been a good seller among Volkswagen models, and I’m sure the demand will be the same for the up! as well.

Elsewhere, the up! GTI gets the usual visual updates too. At the front you’ll notice the black red-striped honeycomb radiator grille and sportier front bumper, down the side there’s new side skirts accompanied by black-striped decals, and at the rear we have a new roof spoiler and rear diffuser. The look is finished with a choice of two new classic GTI colours – tornado red and pure white – and bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels.

Volkswagen up! GTI 2017 - Interior

Inside the up! the changes continue, with the famous tartan-upholstered seats, leather sports steering wheel, GTI gear knob and more. There’s also a range of tech as standard, such as the infotainment system, air-condition and ambient lighting too.

The up! GTI will go on sale around the start of 2018 although no official date has been confirmed as of yet. No price has been announced yet either, but it’s likely to cost around £14,000 or so.

My thoughts

The up! has proven to be a wicked little car for Volkswagen, so adding a sportier GTI version makes sense, and also aligns with their Polo and Golf models too. The GTI name has always been a good seller among Volkswagen models, and I’m sure the demand will be the same for the up! as well.

One thing I find cool though is how much the GTI range has come along. The very first, original 1976 Mk1 Golf GTI came in at 108 bhp and could hit 0-62 mph in only nine seconds, whilst also having a top speed of 113 mph. Now we have this little up! city car with 115 bhp, a 0-62 mph time of 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 122 mph – quality!

All this has done is remind me how class those Golf’s were. Look at that for a car. What a classic!

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 1976

Calvin Fehr

I'm a car fanatic that buys cars, sells cars, reviews cars and does pretty much anything else to do with cars. I drive different cars daily from Fords to Ferraris, and video myself on my journeys to and from work.

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