With the GTI version of the current Up, Volkswagen is relying on a sporty offer in the small car segment with a low entry price for car beginners of 16.975 euros in the two-door version. According to the lessons from the exhaust scandal, it sprints through the streets as a 1,0-liter three-cylinder with 85 kW (115 hp) with a particle filter to reduce fine dust emissions. In the practical test, all disciplines for everyday automotive use have been scrutinized.
Understatement is the order of the day with the smallest sports package from Volkswagen. With a manageable length of 3,60 m, the body corresponds to the civilian version, and the space is accordingly limited. At the front, drivers up to 1,90 m in height will find sufficient leg room and freedom of movement, while space in the rear is of course more cramped. Above all, children and adolescents up to 1,65 m in height can still be accommodated here with sufficient legroom on the rear seat bench. The number of storage options in the interior is significantly reduced. There is also only one cup holder at the front and one at the back. The glove compartment is not illuminated and is quite small.
The Up builds on the original characteristics of the first GTI generation in the 70s: low weight, very stiff chassis and motorsport ambitions. Despite the compact design, the Up brings with 1070 kg a whopping 6 quintals more than its ancestor. Air conditioning, airbag systems, ABS, ESP and exhaust gas cleaning with catalytic converters and particle filters all contribute to the higher curb weight.
The three-cylinder engine cheerfully beats its way through the rev range up to the red area at 6.000 revolutions. Anyone who turns over it is quickly blocked off by the motor control. The GTI accelerates to 8,8 km / h in 100 seconds and seals off at the top speed of 196 km / h. Thanks to turbocharging, 200 Newton meters of torque are available in the engine speed range between 2.000 and 3.500 rpm.
Environment and consumption values
The speed range with high torque enables both a purely sporty and a relaxed, decelerated driving style. The short gear lever for the 6-speed gearbox works precisely and with short distances. The values according to the WLTP standard can also be approximately achieved in autumn driving: According to the on-board computer, they level off at around 6 liters. The Up GTI is the second VW with a gasoline engine to be approved according to the new WLTP measurement method. Here, 5,6 liters per 100 km were certified. Finally, the particle filter is also used as standard equipment to reduce fine dust emissions. After the Dieselgate, a strict rethinking has inevitably set in at Volkswagen.
Visually, the Up GTI is clearly in line with its ancestor Golf GTI from 1976. The classic red trim and of course the traditional check pattern on the seat covers of the sports seats, which are still defined by the name "Clark", are again. Even the classic honeycomb in the radiator grille and the light alloy wheels have been borrowed from the design from the 70s. But the red painted brake calipers, which were inserted between the aluminum struts of the “Brands Heatch” aluminum rims named after the traditional race track, have been pepped up.
Steering and chassis
The Up GTI, which is lowered by 15 mm, is equipped with a tightly designed sports suspension as standard. A correspondingly lower center of gravity also reduces the rolling movements of the body and a significantly harder rear axle also does not tend to rock. The front of the sports car stands on hard-sprung MacPherson struts. Accordingly, it can be guided quickly and directly around the bends. First of all, it reacts neutrally in the curve and tends to understeer when subjected to greater stress, so that it quickly becomes lane-neutral again when "pushing" through the curves.
The steering has now been retuned and is easy to crank when driving through the city center. As soon as you switch to sport mode, the set-up becomes much tighter and there is more direct feedback from the road. The robust chassis clearly appeals to the sporty driver.
The typical GTI insignia was also important to the workmanship. These include the classic door sill strips, the traditional GTI gear knob and a leather-covered handbrake lever right next to the seat. A traditional inlay that should not be missing is the leather steering wheel with red stitching and an integrated GTI emblem. The control elements from the Volkswagen modular system impress with their ergonomic design and ease of use. The steering wheel is height adjustable and can be adjusted according to the driver's wishes. The middle information display and the air conditioning functions are easy to reach and can be operated intuitively using touch controls and buttons.
The smartphone has now become an integral part of everyday life. Accordingly, manufacturers in the small and compact car segments are relying on integration into the automotive world. To do this, the smartphone is placed in the optional “maps + more dock” docking station in the center above the info display. The package costs 300 euros and contains a USB input for power supply with a short cable. The size of the screen diagonal and resolution quality now depends on your own smartphone and cannot be assessed here. Once integrated, your own smartphone should become the infotainment center. The free app “maps + more” from Volkswagen can be downloaded free of charge for iPhone or Android smartphones.
maps + more
The app is visually appealing. A well thought-out address entry using the write function can also be used directly while driving. Large input fields make entries easier. The navigation can then be used in 3-D quality with a differentiated display of the paths and buildings.
The streaming of the music is then more dependent on the quality of the streaming service and should therefore be tested individually. Telephony via Bluetooth worked perfectly - without any noise and at a good basic volume.
Prices and accessories
Some accessories and packages can still be ordered individually. Due to its compact dimensions, the car is easy to maneuver. If you value a reversing camera (200 euros), you can order it in a package with an acoustic parking aid (300 euros).
If you value a sophisticated sound system in your car, you can order the “beats” sound system with 300 watts of power for an extra 450 euros. The subwoofer is then installed in the trunk and limits the load capacity somewhat. From our point of view, you should opt for the DAB + system as an optional feature. It costs 245 euros extra, but provides noise-free digital sound. If children or passengers are often taken in the rear seats, a surcharge of 480 euros has to be paid for the four-door version.
With the smallest version of the GTI, Volkswagen has taken on the sporting spirit of the original version in combination with lower pollutant emissions thanks to particle filters. It is approved according to the new WLTP consumption and exhaust gas measurement method and corresponds to the WLTP values in the summer practical test - a compact athlete that corresponds to the spirit of the times for better environmental compatibility.
Test from the green car magazine.
There are more interesting and detailed test reports in the current print edition. Subscription under