Volkswagen up!



Volkswagen launched a small car that is full of charisma with great potential to become the leader of A00 segment. The award winning up! Has be introduced below Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Polo, which have been the top two best-selling passenger models in South Africa since 2010.

With its pure design, maximum space on a minimal footprint, quality and attention to detail as well as affordable innovations it embodies the core values of the Volkswagen brand.

At 3,540 mm in length, 1,641 mm in width and 1,489 mm in height, the up! is one of the smallest four-seater cars on the market.  Its overall length consists of short body overhangs and a long wheelbase of 2,420 mm.  Thanks to these dimensions the turning circle of the up! is an unusually compact 9.8 metres.

Use of space inside the car is exceptionally good, with space for four adults.  This is due to the wheelbase, which is one of the longest in the segment, combined with an engine that is mounted well forward.  The 251-litre boot is also significantly larger than is typical in this class.  When the rear seat is fully folded, cargo space increases to 951 litres.

Powering the up! is a new generation of three-cylinder petrol engine with outputs of 55 kW.  Combined fuel consumption is 4.7 l/100km with CO2 emissions of 108 g/km.

Two derivatives are available: Take up! and Move up!.  Both are competitively priced and offer a high level of standard equipment. A raft of safety features including ABS and four airbags are available as standard features.



  • Designed by Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Brand), and based on new platform. Built at Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Dimensions: 3,540 mm long, 1,641 mm wide without door mirrors, 1,910 mm wide with door mirrors, 1,489 mm tall, 2,420 mm wheelbase, 585 mm front overhang, 535 mm rear overhang. Boot is 251 litres, 951 litres with the rear seats folded
  • Two derivatives: Take up! and Move up!
  • Volkswagen up! uses a new generation of 999 cc three-cylinder petrol engine with output of
    55 kW. Torque of 95 Nm from 3 000-4300 rpm
  • 5-speed manual gearbox
  • Available as a three-door,
  • Drag coefficient: Cd: 0.32; Cd x A = 0.67. Fuel tank: 35 litres.  Torsional rigidity: 19,800 Nm/degree
  • up! is front-engined and front-wheel drive
  • Front suspension: strut-type with wishbones. Rear: semi-independent.
  • Factory fitted optional features include:
  • Driver package: rear parking sensors, cruise control, multifunction display
  • Comfort package: electric front windows, height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Winter package: front fog lights, heated front seats
  • Sound Plus package: Four speakers in front and two in rear
  • 15-inch Waffle alloy wheels



At 3,540 mm in length and 1,641 in width, the up! is one of the smallest four-seater cars on the market.  Its overall length consists of remarkably short body overhangs and a very long wheelbase (2,420 mm) – a body layout that fully utilises the available space.  It has a turning circle of 9.82 metres.

Dimensions of the up!

The up! was designed by a team led by Volkswagen Group Head of Design, Walter de Silva, and Volkswagen Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff.  In commenting on the concept for the up!’s design, Bischoff says: ‘The perfect layout of a small compact car is based on a box with a wheel at each corner.  The up! is one of the very few which comes close to doing this.  It is not just the relationship between the wheelbase and the overhangs which is important, but also that of the vehicle’s width and track.  From any angle the wheels must be positioned as far to the outside of the vehicle as possible, so as to make the compact body stable and reliable on the road.  It is therefore the objective, without further design and detailing, to lend a unique and solid appearance to the car.  The shape must be right, even before important elements like the front design or the side window graphics establish the character of the model.’

Exterior design

Viewed from the front, the up! appears to smile, due to the prominent lines of the bumper.  And it is intentionally smiling, according to de Silva, having been designed to incorporate the elements of both ‘simplicity and sympathy’.  He explains: ‘Sympathy is part of the up! concept.  It combines the friendliness of the Beetle with the rational perfection of the Golf.’

Integrated in its friendly face is the Volkswagen logo, the only chrome element at the front end.  The up! can make do without large air cooling intakes due to its small petrol and natural gas engines and electric motor that will follow later.  The headlights are significantly smaller than those of other Volkswagens, yet they are visually very prominent.

In side profile, the significant flares of surfaces and alternation of convex and concave forms define the car’s styling.  A slight concave groove above the side sill creates an accent in the continuous surface, but the side profile does not show any seams or edges except for the wheel housings and the look of the side windows.  The wheel housings are prominent and their lateral surfaces – the so-called wheel mirrors – are very large, making the diameters of the small wheels (14 to 15 inch) appear even larger.

The design of the windows gives the up! an unmistakable look as well.  A short angle in front creates a formal connection between the lower-lying window edge and the bonnet.  A long ascending line in the rear third of the vehicle matches that formed by the rear wheel and the C-pillar.  This interplay of lines reinforces the image of the C-pillar being supported by the rear wheel, a characteristic which – in interaction with the long wheelbase and short overhangs – underscores the crisp proportions of the up!.  Over the short, steeply-rising bonnet, there is another line that leads over the windscreen and roof to the rear.  There, the car’s silhouette first follows the side windows then finishes in a near vertical curve down to the bumper.

 The up! has a large bootlid, which extends right down to the bumper.  This so-called hybrid bootlid consists of three basic layers.  Its outer skin consists of a transparent glass element.  The bootlid forms an integral unit with the vertically oriented rear lights.  In detail, the bootlid is constructed of a load-bearing framework upon which a second sheet-metal layer is laser-welded in place with the integrated trailing edge of the roof.  The outer third layer of the bootlid is the glass element that is joined by adhesive.  It extends down from the trailing edge of the roof over the entire bootlid and incorporates the rear window as well as the lower area of the lid.  The border around the rear window and the lower section are coated in black from the inside.  Forming a contrast to the black are the chrome surfaces of the Volkswagen logo and the up! badge.  The bootlid is opened by pressing a button in the handle beneath the Volkswagen logo.

Although they look like a part of the bootlid, the large tail-lights of the up! are actually joined to the body.  Their red surfaces are very distinctive, especially in their interplay with the white C-shaped elements.  The lower third of the rear section is dominated by the bumper with its wide licence-plate panel and surrounding seam.  The front and rear bumpers are painted in body colour as standard.


With a Cd value of 0.32, the Volkswagen up! achieves exemplary aerodynamic performance for its class, and this results in improved refinement thanks to reduced wind noise as well as lower fuel consumption.

At Volkswagen, the first steps in refining a car’s aerodynamics are made in a very early phase of the project using a simulation process known as CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).  Because of its cost and time advantages, this process has since replaced evaluation and optimisation with real 1:4 scale models.  An important aspect of the CFD process is its ability to represent very realistically the vehicle’s details digitally.  Step by step, this method optimises a car’s aerodynamics on the computer.  Not until this process has been fully exploited are wind tunnel measurements conducted on a real full-scale aerodynamic model at a suitably mature development level.  At this stage, the aerodynamic model is covered with an exterior skin of clay, enabling quick changes to be made to the vehicle’s shape.  In addition, the 1:1 model already has realistic shapes of engine compartment and underbody structures and in turn, this enables quick optimisation of parts that are very important to aerodynamics such as the front and rear spoilers and underbody panels.  The designs of aerodynamically relevant add-on parts are then finalised based on measurements from the first prototypes.

In establishing the up!’s aerodynamics, special attention was given to attaining a minimal front overhang.  With this goal in mind, the sides of the front section of the up! were shaped so that the air would flow around the wheel housings with minimal turbulence.  In attempting to reduce every possible gram of CO2 emissions, the position and size of the front spoiler was also optimised progressively; in the final design, another 1.1 g/km CO2 was saved which may seem insignificant but all adds to the final figures.  At the same time, the final front spoiler design reduces front and rear aerodynamic lift coefficients of the up!, resulting in even safer driving characteristics.

The design of the rear section also has a crucial effect on the car’s aerodynamic performance.  Intensive fine tuning of the aerodynamics of the up! has resulted in contours that both preserve styling targets and achieve defined flow separation, including in the side panels at the rear.  In the process, the rear spoiler contour was tuned to the design of the lateral trailing edges.  The sum of all of these measures yields the Cd value of 0.32 mentioned previously.  In conjunction with the vehicle’s frontal area of A = 2.07 m2 the total aerodynamic drag of the up! is a very good 0.67 m2.

Structural design

In order to design a car which is structurally safe and yet achieves a low overall weight, it is imperative to use the most innovative manufacturing technologies.  For this reason, the body materials of the up! consist of 8.1 per cent ‘hot-formed’ steel content, meaning the parts exhibit extreme toughness (including the floor and B-pillars.

In the area of the front side members, sills and side roof frame, so-called dual-phase steels are used which, together with hot-formed steel panels, create the basic structure for the safety occupant cell.  Only 24.9 per cent of the weight of the body structure consists of conventional deep-drawing steels, which are used for visual parts that are very challenging to manufacture, such as exterior parts of the side body or rear wheel housings.

The result is an especially rigid body structure which exhibits comfort levels expected in the next vehicle class in the areas of acoustic and vibration behaviour.  This is attributable to the layout of nodes and load transmission points, in other words, the available installation spaces are optimally utilised by means of a three-shell body structure, so that the occupant cell is surrounded by sturdy, computationally optimised profiles.

The up! has static torsional rigidity of 19,800 Nm/degree which is important as high torsional rigidity has a definite positive effect on comfort and handling properties.  In parallel, the dynamic rigidity of the up! is also excellent at 49 Hz – and this benefits acoustics, vibration and driving comfort.  In its smallest model, Volkswagen has clearly not compromised on safety, quality or comfort.

Interior design

One only has to sit inside the up! for a short time to realise that use of space is exceptionally good, and this is because of its wheelbase – one of the longest in the segment – together with a compact engine mounted well forward and a new running gear design.  Although the up! is a small car, for its driver and three passengers it is by no means cramped.

Its modular seats offer very good driving comfort.  The head restraints for the driver and front passenger are firmly attached to the seats, meaning that, regardless of a person’s stature, they always fit properly.  In the rear, fixed head restraints are less desirable, because they could restrict rear visibility.

The up! design team placed great emphasis on good ergonomics.  The up!,‘really is perceptibly more comfortable, because its occupants do not sit too low, and it offers ample leg support and knee room.  Detailed refinements characterise the entire interior.  

The car’s headroom in front is an impressive 993 mm, and 947 mm in the rear.  The seats are positioned at a good height both front and back; for the driver and front passenger, the so-called H-point – the vertex where the seat and seatback meet – is at a height of 306 mm; in the rear the H-point is at 378 mm.  This somewhat higher seating position for rear passengers affords them a better view over the shoulders of the driver and front passenger.

Controls for the air conditioning system, radio-CD system (optional in Take up!), hazard indicator lights, seat heating (only available as an option in Move up!) and rear window defrost are all located in the central dashboard module between the driver and front passenger.  The entire unit is located up high – so that it is easy to see and use – and it is painted in gloss black.

The interior of the up! is not only designed to be functional, stylish and simple, it is also intended to offer fun and a high level of quality.

At 251 litres, the boot has one of the best values in the segment for cargo capacity. When the seatback of the rear bench is completely folded down, the up! can handle 951 litres of cargo and on a nearly flat cargo surface.  The boot itself is upholstered with carpet, and so is the cargo area cover, which opens wide and can be quickly removed if necessary. When the rear bench seat is folded down, the upper cargo floor position creates a nearly level cargo surface, and small objects can also be stowed beneath the cargo floor in this position.  The lower cargo floor position is used if especially large and bulky objects need to be stowed in the boot.



The up! Is powered by one-litre three-cylinder, 12-valve petrol engine.  This 999 cm3 engine has a power output of 55 kW and fulfils the Euro 4 emissions standard.  The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

The engine which is produced from aluminium is compact and lightweight. It has been systematically designed to minimise internal friction.  The two overhead camshafts are driven by toothed belts; the intake camshaft is variable which further reduces emissions and fuel consumption and improves the power curve in the lower rev range.  The valves are activated by cam followers, again with very low friction.  The engine’s dual-circuit cooling system and integrated water-cooled exhaust manifold ensure short engine warm-up times, resulting in optimal engine temperatures for quick starts.  Each cylinder is equipped with a separate ignition coil.

This one-litre engine has a bore / stroke dimensions of 74.5 / 76.4 mm.  The compression ratio is 10.5:1.

The up! engine has an aluminium crankcase that is die-cast in ‘open deck’ construction.  To reduce weight here, most of the mounting points for ancillary components are located directly on the crankcase, eliminating the need for an otherwise usual ancillary drive bracket.  The grey cast iron cylinder liners enable reliable engine operation with all types of petrol.

In laying out the crankshaft drive, engineers were able to reduce further moving mass compared to the company’s other three-cylinder engines, thereby minimising friction in the system.  The downward-guided connecting rods and the pistons are weight-optimised to such an extent that the balancer shafts that are otherwise usual in three-cylinder engines could be eliminated – while maintaining the same comfort levels.  Engine weight and drive friction – and therefore fuel consumption – were further reduced by the small main and connecting rod bearings.  Six crankshaft counterweights are used to reduce internal forces and therefore the load on the main bearing.  This also enhances the durability of the engine for exceptionally long life.

The cylinder head of the up! with four valves per cylinder is cast from an aluminium alloy.  The valves suspended at the tops of the combustion chambers are laid out at angles of 21 degrees (intake) and 22.4 degrees (exhaust), and as noted they are activated by cam followers.  The valve stems have a diameter of 5 mm.  The cylinder head has an integrated exhaust manifold, because, as mentioned previously, the engines reach their optimal operating temperature faster with this technical layout.  The engine coolant is heated faster during the cold start phase, because the exhaust channels within the head merge at a central flange.  In normal operation, on the other hand, the exhaust gas stream is cooled more intensively, and the engine can be operated at an optimal fuel-to-air ratio of λ=1.  Once again, the benefits are reduced emission and fuel consumption values.

The topic of weight reduction runs like a common thread throughout the engine area, all the way to the engine’s swivel mounts: the solution implemented in the up! with its rubber-metal elements not only provides for very good isolation of the body from vibrations of the three-cylinder engine; it is also the lightest in the competitive field.

Other examples of damping and weight-optimisation include engineering sufficient installation space in the area of the engine bulkhead for the usual, relatively expensive firewall insulation, but instead of the usual moulded part, a more economical and very lightweight stamped part is used.  Good sound insulation of the interior is enabled by special tuning of structural damping as it interacts with other acoustic elements.  The up! development team also focused on systematic sealing of the body to minimise entry of undesirable noises into the passenger compartment, and this also reduced the need for sound-absorbing materials.

1.0-litre, 999 cc, 12-valve 3-cyl, 55 kW

From its small 999 cc capacity, the up! engine develops peak power of 55 kW at 6 200 rpm, and maximum torque of 95 Nm  from 3 000 to 4 300 rpm.  Ninety per cent of maximum torque is reached between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm, ensuring agile performance.  Standstill to 100 km/h takes 13.2 seconds and top speed is 171 km/h.  This engine returns a combined fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100km while emitting 108 g/km of carbon dioxide.


Five-speed manual

The aluminium five-speed gearbox in the up! was specially tuned for the its three-cylinder petrol engine.  The gearbox weighs just 25 kg including transmission fluid, which makes it one of the world’s lightest gearbox in this torque class (the gearbox also comes with indicators for the recommended gear and the engaged gear in the instrument cluster).  The gearbox is also very compact measuring 341 mm long by 462 mm wide. The fifth gear has a long gear ratio which reduces engine revs at higher speeds.



The up! is front engined and front-wheel drive. It uses a running gear which was specially designed for it.  Its very short overhangs on the front and rear axles as well as a long wheelbase and stiff body structure form the basis for good vehicle dynamics and chassis set-up.

At the front is a strut-type suspension with wishbones.  A key component here is the subframe to which the single-shell transverse link is joined and which absorbs forces of the stabiliser that is joined directly to the strut tower, as well as the steering unit and the swivel mount of the engine bearing.  The lightweight but very rigid subframe is produced from a high-strength steel that is only 1.8 mm thick.

The concept of a torsion beam chassis was chosen for the rear axle, where the semi-independent suspension also exhibits low weight and compact construction.

Electro-mechanical power steering
Like a number of other Volkswagen model such as the new Polo, the up! is equipped with electro-mechanical power assisted steering which is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

In the case of up!, the parameters are the selected degree of active self-centring to the middle position and steering comfort as well as a feeling of safety.  The important self-centring characteristic, even over the slightest of steering angles, and speed-dependent build-up of steering torque convey a sense of very high precision to the driver.  From lock to lock, there are exactly 2.9 steering wheel turns in the up!.

Braking system
At the front, the up! is equipped with newly developed, ventilated 14-inch disc brakes.  At the rear, Volkswagen is implementing a drum brake which ideally fits the power range and weight of the up!.  A nine-inch brake servo unit optimises braking power.  One innovative aspect of the system is that the power range of the brakes is subdivided into two ‘maps’.  In the comfort braking range, the focus is on good force metering ability.  But if more powerful braking is required, the second map is activated with a higher servo boost factor which significantly reduces the pedal force required during hard braking.  The up! is equipped with ABS as a standard active safety feature.



The up! is available in two trim levels: Take up! and Move up!

Specification highlights for these derivatives are listed below:

Take up!

This derivative has the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with Hydraulic Brake Assist
  • driver and front passenger airbags, plus front side head/thorax airbags
  • two rear three-point seatbelts and height-adjustable head restraints
  • warning buzzer for front and rear seats if belt unfastened
  • ISOFIX fixtures and top-tether fittings for mounting suitable child seats in the rear
  • height adjustable steering wheel
  • manually adjustable door mirrors
  • manual air conditioner
  • daytime running lights
  • rear windscreen wiper
  • two rear seats with one-piece folding backrest
  • 14-inch steel wheels with 165/70 R14 tyres


Move up!

In addition to the features on the Take up! model, the Move up! gains the following:

  • body-coloured door mirrors and handles
  • inside door handles in chrome
  • driver and passenger seat height adjustment
  • easy entry sliding seats for easy access to rear seats
  • front electric windows
  • electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • remote central locking
  • Radio/CD with MP3 and two loudspeakers
  • split folding rear seat backrest (60:40)


Optional Features

The up! can be customised with a number of factory fitted optional features such as 15-inch Waffle alloy wheels, Sound “Plus” package with 4 speakers in front and 2 in rear, driver package (cruise control, rear park distance control and multi-function display), winter package (heated seats and front fog lights), comfort package (front electric windows and height adjustable driver seat) and panoramic sunroof.


Volkswagen up! is available in six colours, namely Candy White, Mayan Blue, Sunflower Yellow, Tornado Red, Light Silver Metallic and Deep Black Pearlescent.

Source: Quickpic


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