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!
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.
Out came a Sporty Up!, with its 3-cylinder direct-injection engine making 100 horsepower and 150 newton-meters of torque (it is a European model, after all), enough to propel the little pony from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in just 9.0 seconds.
The parade continued with the latest version of the eUp!, a battery-electric microcar that will come to market in 2013. The electric Up! will make 210 newton-meters of torque, and should hit a top speed of 140 kmh, or just under 90 mph. Range, for the metrically challenged, will come in around 90 miles.
Apparently, VW believes there’s an endless array of niches it can tap with the microcar, one new version expected to deliver better than 60 mpg, which translates to CO2 emissions of just 79 grams per 100 kilometers.
Declaring Frankfurt “Up!-town,” senior VW officials wrapped things up with a modern take on the classic dune buggy – the sort of vehicle once based on the seemingly ever-present Volkswagen Beetle.
There were two takes on the concept, in fact, a 2-seater and a 4-seat alternative, both with targa bars but no place to plant a top for inclement weather. As with the classic dune buggies of the ‘60s, the Up! versions come sans doors with waterproof interiors, neoprene-covered seats and even drain plugs in the floor.
Even the requisite infotainment system was waterproofed. The audio package can be removed from the prototype buggies in case anyone is looking to play a game of beach blanket bingo.
While most of the other Up! variants are eventually expected to go into production, a senior VW source suggested the dune buggy is just a little example of the German maker getting playful.
Anyone see Frankie and Annette?