The Golf GTI has a legendary status in the motoring arena, and the current model is a leader in its class. However, it is also quite different from the light, compact original car. In fact, the nearest thing to the Mk1 Golf GTI in today’s Volkswagen range is the up! The new up! GTI Concept is VW’s attempt to invoke the spirit of the original GTI, and it is set to be unveiled during the yearly GTI fan Meeting that will be held in Worthersee.
There is a gap of more than 40 years between the introduction of the Mk1 Golf GTI and the debut of the up! GTI, but their power outputs are nearly equal. The original generates 81kW (109 horsepower) while the turbocharged engine of the up! produces 85 kW (114 horsepower). In comparison, the current version of the Golf GTI generates 169 kW (227 horsepower) and makes 250 Newton-meters of torque.
Each of the two cars weigh less than 2205 pounds (1000 kilograms), but because of having a more robust body and a much higher emphasis on meeting modern-day safety guidelines, the up!, weighing 2198 pounds (997 kg), is slightly heavier than the Mk1, which tips the scales at 1786 pounds (810 kg). But the modern car blows the Mk1 away when it comes to torque. It reaches 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 8.8 seconds and makes 230 Newton-meters compared to 9 seconds and 140 Newton-meters for the old Golf. The new car has a maximum speed of 122 miles per hour (197kilometers per hour), which is 9 miles per hour (15 kilometers per hour) faster.
The resemblance between old and new goes beyond their performances. The Mk5 Golf GTI introduced a retro-themed set of design ideas such as a red grille trim and tartan seats and the up! continues with this theme. Together with the red lipstick treatment in front, the car has black stripes on the sides while the interior sports tartan seats. There is a 0.6 inch (15 millimeter) reduction in ride height which assists the 17-inch wheels to fill the wheel arches better, and down at the back, there is a larger exhaust pipe.
Resembling a Golf GTI that has been struck with a shrink ray, the up! seems attractive to us. When it is unveiled, it will compete with the Renault Twingo GT, which comes with a 900 cc,three-cylinder engine that generates 82 Kw (110 horsepower). This means that their power outputs only differ by 3 kW (4 horsepower) even though the VW boasts of 60 Newton-meters more torque than the rear-engined,rear-drive Renault.The Renault also comes with 17-inch wheels, and its height has been lowered to give it an imposing look. The two cars also appear to have similar toughness. That is to say, choosing between the two cars will probably be dictated by personal preference. In that spirit, we are big on tartan seats, which are only found in a GTI.
The new up! GTI concept will be displayed at the annual GTI Meet in Worthersee, which gets underway on May 24. Production is scheduled to start early next year, but the car's pricing information has not yet been revealed. Meanwhile, you can have a look at the car in the video attached below.