Sunday, August 21, 2011

Official: Volkswagen UP revealed


Volkswagen has finally revealed its new entry-level model, the Up! hatchback, four years after it was first shown as a concept car at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The heavily hyped entry-level model enters the German carmaker's lineup as a replacement for the aging Fox, slotting in beneath the Polo at a price Volkswagen hints will see it compete against the Citroen C1, Fiat 500 and Renault Twingo among other compact offerings in Europe.

The Up! is set to make its public premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show on September 13th and will go on sale across Europe in three-door form in December 2011 and is priced at €9,151. A more practical five-door version is set to follow during the second half of 2012 — at which time Volkswagen Group subsidiaries, Seat and Skoda, will also introduce their own distinctly styled versions of the Up! carrying modified front and rear styling.

In a departure from the original transverse rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive concept version of the Up!, the production version employs a more conventional transverse front-engine/front-wheel-drive layout more in keeping with the rest of the Volkswagen lineup.

Underpinning the new car is Volkswagen's new MQB platform, a modular structure that has been conceived to be used beneath a wide range of models, including replacements for the Polo, Golf and European market Passat within the next five years.
In Europe, the Up! will be sold exclusively with a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder TSI gasoline engine. New to the Volkswagen lineup, it comes in two states of tune: a base 59-hp version that is claimed to return 56 mpg on the combined European consumption cycle and a sportier 74-hp version rated at 54.6 mpg. Gearbox choices are set to include a standard five-speed manual and a new six-speed clutchless unit.

Oddly, given that the initial sales focus for the new Volkswagen is firmly on Europe and not including the USA, there is no diesel engine option. Instead, Volkswagen will sell the Up! with a 68-hp version of the turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine capable of running on natural gas.

Although it won't be available from the start of sales, Volkswagen has also confirmed plans for a plug-in electric version of the Up!, as previewed at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show by the Up! E-Motion concept car. It showcased a zero-emission driveline combining an 81-hp electric motor together with an 18kWh lithium-ion battery.

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