Good things do come in small packages.
The Volkswagen Up! has not received a ton of coverage on CarBuzz. After all, the Up! is powered by a tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that only makes 101 horsepower in its most powerful state of tune. Volkswagen's city car was never brought to the US, which was was fine with us. However, it looks like Volkswagen has finally decided to make the Up! interesting by replacing the exclamation point with three awesome letters: GTI. The Up GTI could hit production as soon as 2018 and Autocar has already snagged a ride in the prototype model.
The Up GTI still uses a turbocharged, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, now tuned up to 114 hp. That may not scare anyone in the US that is used to Mustangs and Hellcats roaming the streets, but the Up GTI looks like a genuine enthusiast's car. The prototype comes with a six-speed manual which can hit 60 MPH in 8.8 seconds. There will also be a DSG available as an option. It may be as slow as a Toyota Corolla, but the Corolla probably won't be as fun to drive. What Volkswagen has done, essentially, is built an Mk1 Golf GTI for the 21st century. The Up GTI's dimensions are nearly identical to the original Golf GTI, but performance has been improved in every statistic.
The original 1976 Golf GTI had a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 109 hp that could hit 60 MPH in 9.2 seconds. It may sound silly to compare a prototype 2018 model year car to one from 1976, but we are always complaining that carmakers are ditching the purity of classic models. The Up GTI reminds us a lot of the BMW M2. Even though it is called the M2, people have been comparing the car to the E30 M3, based on its proportions. The new M3 is much bigger than its predecessors, so the M2 is seen as a sort-of spiritual successor. The Up GTI could be the spiritual successor to the original Golf GTI, which is definitely a concept that sounds cool to us.