VW Up GT review

  • Prototype Volkswagen Up GT hot hatch driven
  • Priced from £13,500 (est)
  • On sale 2013
VW showed a GT Up concept car at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, and the production version will go on sale next year, priced from around £13,500.

We’ve driven a development prototype, which looked like a regular three-door Up, but production cars will borrow heavily from the concept car, which traded the Up’s smiley face for an aggressive-looking trapezoidal air intake, flanked by side vents with LED strips. A larger tailgate spoiler and an under-bumper diffuser, framing a pair of fat tailpipes, marked out the rear view.

What’s it like to drive? The Up GT (the name may yet be changed) uses a turbocharged version of the 999cc three-cylinder petrol engine that’s in lesser Ups, and this produces 108bhp and a relatively hefty 129lb ft of torque.

The result is a likely top speed of 121mph and 0-62mph achieved in around 8.5 seconds, yet CO2 emissions should be no higher than they are in other Ups.

Performance feels strong. After a minimal pause, the turbo boosts the engine into a muscular thrust of energy, even from low speeds in a high gear. As a result, overtaking is effortless, and it’s accompanied by a deep engine growl.

Production cars are likely to get 17-inch alloys, whereas our test car had 15-inch wheels; on these the ride is firm but beautifully damped. Good grip and crisp, keen steering boost the appeal of the Up GT, giving it tremendous agility.

What’s it like inside? The concept car featured heavily-bolstered sports seats trimmed in a tartan-look fabric – like a Golf GTI’s – and these are likely to make it into production.

Otherwise, the GT will be similar to lesser Ups inside, but this is no bad thing, because it means a smart dashboard with well-sited controls that have a chunky, no-nonsense design.

There’s a great feeling of space up front, thanks to the uncluttered cabin and generous shoulder-room. Things are tighter in the back, but there’s still space for adults. The boot is a good size, too.

Should I buy one? The Up GT already feels like a thoroughly developed baby hot hatch, and is hugely desirable. The only worry is that the bigger wheels destined for production cars could ruin the ride.

Rivals
Renault Twingo Renaultsport
Suzuki Swift Sport

What Car? says…


John Simister

See also
VW Up 5dr review
 
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