Ever since the GTI moniker first appeared on a Volkswagen Golf back in the 1970s, the famous badging has become synonymous with exciting, but relatively affordable motoring. Now, it’s on this, the Up! GTI.

Designed to be closer to the ethos of that original model than any other car, this compact performance hatch should prove to be one of the most exciting hatchbacks on sale today. Can it deliver? Let’s find out.


The exterior of the Up GTI take the standard car’s dinky proportions and beefs them up considerably. You’ll notice larger alloy wheels, side stripes and a dinky little spoiler which all help to show that this isn’t just any Up!

There’s also the trademark red GTI highlight running along the grille – though it’s a little tricky to see on this red car.


The interior of the regular Up is impressively well made, and the GTI version builds on this decent platform. You’ve got the GTI-specific tartan sports seats, as well as this gloss finish dashboard. The golf ball gear knob is another trademark, and it’s all tied together with decent ergonomics. It’s a very good cabin, and one you wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time in.

There’s no satellite navigation system – rather a smartphone cradle.


The Up is a surprisingly practical car, particularly when you consider its compact size. The interior space is decent, and there’s plenty of headroom – so even those in the back should be happy.

Boot space is also good. You’ve got 251 litres of load area to play with, and this rises up to 951 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Performance VO

Underneath the teeny bonnet of the Up sits a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine, and it’s the same as you’ll find in the standard TSI version. However, boost has been upped and an intercooler has been added, meaning you get 113bhp and 200Nm of torque. There’s no automatic version available – just a six-speed manual – and Volkswagen claims that it’ll make the sprint to 60mph in around eight and a half seconds before reaching a top speed of 122mph.

Economy is reasonable too – with a claimed combined mpg of 58.9 and emissions of 110g/km CO2.