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Hooray! The VW Up GTI is a real thing

After five years of nagging, VW gives us a turbocharged Up hot hatch

We bring good news! Volkswagen has confirmed a GTI version of the Up. A mere five years (ahem) after the Up’s launch, there’s a fast one finally on the way. Meet the VW Up GTI.

Yes, it’s got Volkswagen’s most hallowed hot hatch badge upon its snout, alongside all of the GTI hallmarks, with a red-striped grille and tartan seats inside. Even the colour palette is borrowed from the current Golf GTI.

Officially a concept, but with a production version confirmed, the Up GTI uses a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine with 113bhp and 147lb ft. Worried that’s not enough? The original Golf GTI had 5bhp less, and this Up, while heavier, is still just 997kg.

That means an 8.8sec 0-62mph time and a 122mph top speed. Modest figures, yes. But ones that make it a car with accessible performance in the real world. You’ll actually be able to wring this thing’s neck.

There’s a 15mm suspension drop and some general tinkering underneath to sharpen it up, but it’s already an uncommonly good car to drive as standard. We’ve long suspected the base car could handle more power so here’s hoping its chassis magic hasn’t been lost with VW’s tuning.

The suspension drop certainly makes it look a bit meaner, mind. The GTI upgrade is predictably subtle but does enough to make this Up look ‘proper’, we reckon. A move helped by its three-door layout, something increasingly rare in the hot hatch sector. There’ll be a five-door too, mind.

Unless VW’s had a serious off day, this promises to be a thoroughly good car. Whether it’s a true great will all hinge on its price; if VW can make it £15,000 or below, then this could be a proper bargain hero in the Suzuki Swift Sport and (previous gen) Renault Sport Twingo mould.

The VW Up GTI concept gets its big reveal at the Worthersee festival in Austria next week, with sales starting in early 2018. Reckon it’s a winner?

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