Volkswagen made a cannonball of a splash at the Frankfurt Auto Show with a premiere of six new and exciting variations of the Up! that may join to form a small car family. Make no mistake, not only is the exclamation mark a part of the car’s name, Volkswagen’s new microcar line-up exudes excitement.
First in line is the eco-friendly Eco Up! CNG. Fueled by natural gas, the Eco Up! features a hybrid drivetrain with regenerative braking as well as a stop/start system. Petitely packaged, the line of Up! microcars need no more than a three cylinder engine to get motivated. Production is scheduled for 2012.
The E-Up! is the all electric version of the Up!, with an 80 horsepower motor wringing out an instantaneous 155 lb-ft of torque from a single speed transmission. A battery pack is packaged along the floor of the passenger cabin and is expected to travel a range of 81 miles. It is set for a 2013 launch date across Europe.
A turbocharged Up! GT heatens up the lineup with a 25 horsepower boost from the base Up! to 100 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque. A more aggressive exterior along with daytime running lights, 17 inch wheels at every corner, a roof spoiler, and chrome finished exhausts hints at the Up! GT’s sporting intentions.
Those in the market for a microcar that isn’t so micro might appreciate the Azzurra concept. This five door Up! will feature a more usable cabin and a more rugged stance. A raised ride height, door sills and chunky fender and various trim treatment makes the Azzurra look tough.
But really, more than just eco consciousness, the Up! is all about having fun. Case in point, the sun worshipping Buggy Up! might be your new best friend. While the design is a callback to the old dune buggies in Volkwagen’s past, the ride height does not look ideal for any dune bombing action. Still, equipped with removable speakers and an iPod dock along with a waterproof interior featuring drains in the seat shell and floor, if there’s ever a party at the beach, the Up! is ready.
We save the most funky of the six models unveiled for last. Graced by the pen of Giorgetto Guigaro, the nautical themed Azzurra Sailing Team Up! featured deep and rich mahogany and maple wood with a tastefully trimmed blue/white combination leather interior. Sprinkles of chrome and bright work add to the leisurely ambiance, creating a very unique driving experience. Even better, the attractive interior is waterproof as well. The drivetrain will be fully electric.
Unfortunately, chances are slim to none that the Buggy Up! and Azzura Sailing Team Up! will make it to production. Depending on market feedback, Volkswagen executives might loosen Up!