New Car: 2012 Volkswagen Up!

Finally, here's a production car that looks like the concept from which it was derived. The Volkswagen Up! (yes, it includes the exclamation point) doesn’t deviate much at all from the show car that surprised the industry four years ago—at least not visually. Like that original, this final version will debut at the Frankfurt auto show.

Although the Up! is small—at 139.4 inches long and 64.6 inches wide, it is six inches shorter and nearly two narrower than a Mini Cooper hardtop—VW calls it a “giant among small cars.” A 95.3-inch wheelbase (1.8 shorter than the Mini’s) pushes the wheels way out the corners, making for interior packaging that comfortably accommodates four passengers and nine cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seats and cargo volume swells to 34 cubes.

The Up! was originally conceived to be a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, a move that would have endeared it to enthusiasts, but the bean counters objected. So it is instead built on VW’s so-called New Small Platform, which will spawn a number of vehicles, including low-cost cars for the third world. If that doesn’t inspire confidence, we expect to see sister models from ┼ákoda and SEAT—and perhaps even Audi. The production Bulli, inspired by the famous Microbus, also will draw heavily from the NSF platform. Many components also will be shared with the Polo and other larger Volkswagens.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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