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VW Wants to Win Back Enthusiasts with Array of Concepts

Six new prototypes debut at U.S., European events.

by on May.19, 2017

The VW Beetle Post Concept

Looking for something sporty but affordable? Volkswagen might have just the car for you though, for now, these six models are just concepts making their debut at two big summer events taking place in Europe and the U.S. this coming weekend.

The German maker has reason to roll out so many show cars in one big blitz. VW is still trying to recover from its diesel emissions scandal and, particularly in the States, it will no longer have those sporty oil-burners to offer anymore.

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But even as it shifts gears a bit, focusing more on conventional gas-powered models, it’s determined to show it has plenty to appeal to enthusiasts. Here’s what we’re seeing at both the GTI Meet in Worthersee, Austria, as well as the SOWO: European Experience in Savannah, Georgia.

SOWO features five show cars, including: (more…)

Other VW Models to Share 261 MPG XL1 Drivetrain

Diesel plug-in will also power version of Volkswagen Up! minicar.

by on Feb.26, 2013

A high-mileage "Lite" concept version of the Volkswagen Up! minicar could wind up sharing the diesel plug-in system going into the VW XL1.

Volkswagen apparently has big plans for the high-mileage diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain that will be used in its little XL1 microcar.

Reports from Europe suggest the drivetrain – which will yield an astonishing 261 miles per gallon under the hood of the XL1 – also will make an appearance as an option for VW’s little Up! minicar. And versions of the powertrain could show up in other models, as well.

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The XL1 is the latest version of VW’s ongoing 1-liter car project, that a reference to its goal of using just 1 liter of gasoline to travel 100 kilometers. In U.S. terms, that works out to about 240 mpg – a target the XL1 reportedly will beat by about 10%.


New Volkswagen Midsize SUV “Under Discussion”

Maker considering range of additional products, including Polo and Up! to support soaring U.S. sales.

by on May.30, 2012

VW Group CEO Jonathan Browning -- shown here at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show -- wants more product in the U.S. line-up.

With U.S. sales expected to increase by as much as 30% for May Volkswagen is looking at all its options to keep that momentum going – including the addition of all-new products to its American line-up.

The maker could start importing several models not currently sold in the U.S., said Volkswagen Group of American CEO Jonathan Browning.  But the executive says the more likely move would come with the addition of an all-new midsize SUV now “under discussion.”

“A midsize SUV would be a great opportunity for us,” Browning said following a speech to the Detroit Automotive Press Association.

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The vehicle would slot into the line-up between the compact Tiguan and the full-size Touareg sport-utility vehicles.  It might be developed as a joint project between the U.S. and “another region around the world,” Browning hinted, but he stressed that the American market would take the lead in the vehicle’s development.


Volkswagen Up! Named World Car of the Year

Range Rover, Porsche, Mercedes products also honored.

by on Apr.05, 2012

Lead designer Oliver Stefani olds the World Car of the Year award for the Volkswagen Up!

The pint-sized Volkswagen Up! has nabbed a big honor, winning the sought-after World Car of the Year trophy during a morning session at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

The victory took many observers by surprise, especially considering the minicar was going up for the award against the widely-hailed and more universally available updates of the BMW 3-Series and Porsche 911.

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“Our goal was always to make something small great,” said Olivier Stefani, the lead designer on the Up! program, which has become one of the centerpieces of VW’s push to go green – in many ways serving as the modern-day alternative to the legendary Volkswagen Beetle.


VW Reveals 5-Door Up! and Confirms Up! GT

Preview coming at Geneva.

by on Jan.24, 2012

Volkswagen will introduce a 5-door version of its Up! city car in Geneva.

Having already seen images leak out onto the web, Volkswagen has decided it’s not worth hiding the new 5-door hatchback version of its global minicar, the VW Up! – which will make its formal debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Meanwhile, the German maker is getting ready to launch a spiced-up version of the 3-door city car, which will be badged the Up! GT.  It’s the production version of the hot-hatch Up! that made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn.

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The Up! is sliding into the entry niche that once was filled by the Volkswagen Polo, the Up! GT targeting the sort of folks who might once have opted for the Golf GTI or smaller Lupo GTI.

The more functional 5-door will go on sale later this year, reportedly with a pair of turbocharged  and direct-injected 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline powertrains, one making 59 hp the other 74.


VW Delivers Surprise with Up! 4-Door, Sport and Dune Buggy

Anyone up for some beach blanket bingo?

by on Sep.13, 2011

Volkswagen's take on a classic, a dune buggy based on its new Up! microcar.

Volkswagen is seeing an Up!-side to its newest, smallest model.  The downsized offering will soon be getting a bit bigger – or at least the new VW Up! family will, if the maker’s Frankfurt Auto Show preview is any indication.

The pint-sized Up!, which will arrive in European dealer showrooms later this year, wasn’t expected to make much news at this year’s show, where Volkswagen was signaling its intent to focus on its unusual, 1-seat Nils concept and other product offerings.  But the German maker had a surprise in store as it began rolling out all sorts of variants of the new Up!

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The mix included a 4-door version of the microcar, which Volkswagen’s global styling chief, Walter da Silva announced “will launch next year.”

But that was only the beginning of the surprises.


Volkswagen Nils Concept One of Many Odd Microcars Coming to Frankfurt.

Going solo.

by on Sep.08, 2011

VW is betting commuters wouldn't mind going solo as it reveals the Nils one-seater.

How small is too small? That seems to be one of the challenges that automakers are taking on as they prepare to roll out a flood of microcars during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

There are four-seaters not much bigger than the Smart fourtwo, two-seat concepts that turn to tandem seating to deliver an even smaller profile, and for those that are happy going solo, Volkswagen will officially unveil the pod-like Nils.

The VW Nils concept is about 20 inches shorter than the Up!, the new microcar that the German maker will soon put into production, the smallest offering in its line-up.  The face of the new show car is designed to be easily recognized as a Volkswagen but it features some interesting new touches, including the gullwing doors and the black surround that integrate front and rear bumpers.

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It’s not the first time we’ve seen an automaker propose what might be called the ultimate in truly personal transportation.  Over the years, Toyota has come up with some truly quirky one-seat designs at the Tokyo Motor Show – an event famous for its strange machinations.  The most recent from the Japanese maker seemed to take inspiration from the ubiquitous Japanese vending machines, dispensing its occupant almost like a package of gum.

By that measure, the VW Nils is almost conventional in design, though that word will not likely be thrown around much at the Frankfurt debut.


VW Confirms Little Up Model Debuting in Europe This Year

U.S. plans are “Up” in the air.

by on Aug.23, 2011

VW plans to launch sales of its new Up microcar in Europe by December.

Volkswagen will formally introduce the production version of its newest – and smallest – car, the Up, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, next month.  The micro-compact will reach European showrooms before year-end, though plans for a U.S. launch apparently remain “Up” in the air.

In many ways, the minicar is more like the original Volkswagen Beetle than the latest version of the Bug that drove during a Berlin preview last month. (Click Here for that review.)  The Up will become the smallest car in the VW line-up, at less than 12 feet nose-to-tail, focusing on the growing market for urban cruisers that can deliver space, fuel-efficiency and more driving fun than the traditional econobox.

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VW first revealed the Up at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show with a conventional gasoline engine.  It returned, two years later, in battery-electric form.  Eventually, the maker is expecting to produce both versions.