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VW Up GTI wants to put a downer on other superminis

Volkswagen is hoping to take on Abarth and other pocket rockets with a GTI version of the popular Up supermini, according to reports.

Motoring magazine and website Autocar claims officials at VW have fast-tracked plans for the VW Golf Up GTI, which is designed specifically to challenge the Abarth 595 and will use a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol.

The as yet launched new VW Up has 89bhp and 118lb/ft of torque, but the GTI model will undoubtedly be tuned-up ─ potentially as much as the same engine in the VW Golf Bluemotion TSI, which has 113bhp and 147lb/ft.

Given the VW Up’s sub-1,000kg kerb weight, that would be enough to give rival superminis a run for their money except, funnily enough, the Abarth 595, which has a 143bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder and 152ft/lb.

Arguably, then, VW would be wise to up the power even more but the 113 number is actually rather special, because it is the output of the four-cylinder 1.8-litre in the first-generation Golf GTI when it was unveiled in 1975, Autocar noted.

Other modificitaions mentioned in the report include a revised chassis tune (presumably to make it more rigid), GTI-specific aesthetic tweaks and a sporty lower ride height. Different bumpers, twin chrome tailpipes and 16-inch wheels are also said to feature.

The interior will be more GTI-esque, too, in the form of individual instrument graphics, sporty golf ball gear lever and smatterings of tartan cloth upholstery. Could be a winner, this one, if only because small, sporty cars are some of the most fun to drive.

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