VW Up GTI prototype drive
By today’s hot- hatch standards, 113bhp and 0- 62mph in 8.8 seconds sounds pretty snoozeworthy. But don’t dismiss the new Up GTI on the stats alone – this little car adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
evo was invited to drive a pre- production version at a test session with Volkswagen board members in South Africa, and we came away smiling.
Let’s start with the engine. By adding a high- pressure turbo to the little three- cylinder motor and upping the compression ratio, throttle response is surprisingly sharp. The noise piped through the speakers via a sound actuator is perky if not throaty, but it’s augmented by an audible whoosh from that turbo.
Second gear is a bit too long for our liking (cue engineers shrugging shoulders, sighing and cursing CO2 requirements), but the six- speed manual gearbox is slick enough, if a little long in the throw.
Although our test was on long, straight roads, the odd bend revealed the Up’s steering to be fairly weighty and reasonably direct, thanks to parts of the rack having been taken from the Polo. The uprated brakes also come from the Up’s bigger brother.
Surprisingly, given the car’s dinky dimensions, a ride- height drop of 15mm and sports suspension, the little GTI rode very well over some pretty decrepit roads. It felt mature, much in the way a Golf GTI does. And while it may not have the ultimate poise of the greatest hot hatches, it has the potential to brighten up even the most mundane of journeys.