GTI badge for VW Up! Hang on until early 2018!

  • Small car with DNA of the iconic first Golf GTI
  • Premiere of the Up! GTI at Lake Wörthersee
  • Production version expected to launch early 2018
2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress
2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress

WOLFSBURG, Germany – More that four decades after the debut of the VW Golf GTI comes, at the 2017 GTI Meet at Lake Wörthersee in Germany, another VW brand bearing the GTI badge.

It’s the VW Up! GTI, a miniature version of the original and way smaller than the current GTI models but, VW says, “very much in the spirit of the original GTI”.

The light little car packs 85kW and is, the automaker says, “broadly in line with the 81kW Golf GTI MkI presented in 1976”. The unit to be shown at  Wörthersee will be a “near-production” concept.

2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress
2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress

That means it will be light, have sport running gear and all the GTI badging – including the red stripes in the radiator grille – and tartan upholstery.

VW told The Corner in a media release: “This sporty small car will certainly bring a new dimension of driving fun to compact (read small – Ed) car market.

“It will have agility akin to a kart but a high level of comfort. The production version will be launched  in early 2018.”

The Corner suggests you put your new-car purchase plans on hold…

READ MORE VW  features on Carman’s Corner

“The first GTI in the 1970s,”  VW said, “democratised the overtaking lane of German autobahns on which large sedans and expensive sports cars had until then set the pace.

“The red stripe in the grille, the black double stripe across the sills, the black stripe on the hatch, immediately identifies the first  GTI. Its 82kW and kerb weight of 810kg allowed 100km/h in nine seconds and top speed of 182km/h.

“The colours for the first launch – red or silver and, later, white or black – became established as GTI liveries.”

End of history lesson, back to the present…

2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress
2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress

The Up! GTI, VW says, will continue the light/no frills concept and be similar in size, inside and out, to the original GTI though its turbocharged engine will make 230Nm to haul the car’s 997kg to its top speed of 197km/h after dispatching the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.8sec.


The cars will also offer another colour: Costa Azul, which translates to blue, and ride on a 17″ alloy rim/tyre combination with the shell lowered by 15mm from that of the standard car and adorned with a large roof edge spoiler.

The cabin will have a leather-wrapped sport steering-wheel and GTI gear-shifter knob.

“This GTI,” VW says, not only looks like a GTI, but also drives like one!”

2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress
2018 VW UP! GTI: Image: VW / Newspress

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