Volkswagen Up!: Gettin' Down With
Motoring Channel Staff - 11/September/2007
Volkswagen has high hopes
for the Up! concept,
predicting it will become a new vehicular icon
With a large rear
windscreen rearward vision
should be good, aiding city driving and parking
The interior is
minimalistic which suits the car
has taken the wraps off the Up!, an all-new model that the German
marque claims could lead to an entirely new range of cars. One of the
most interesting aspects of the new VW Up! is the engine location - in
the rear of the car. There's also a good chance that it will be driven
by a range of low emission 'green' engines.
Here's the full press
release from Volkswagen:
Volkswagen Up! Concept
Volkswagen is presenting – as a world premiere at the
International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt – a concept car that
once again has the right stuff needed to move more than just one
generation. It is a small, pure and high-spirited Volkswagen that pays
tribute to its environment. The overall concept is marked by an
innovative, clear, intuitive functionality.
name of the concept car: up! – a positive name that is a synonym
for departure, activity, dynamics and the future. "For Volkswagen",
says Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member with Responsibility for
Technical Development, "the
response of IAA
visitors will be a decisive test to determine whether the concept has
the same kind of potential possessed
by the Beetle at one time or by the Golf today."
up! is a city specialist, a car for four persons and all languages, for
the job, the university, the drive to the beach and the excursion
outside the city gates. A small car that shows a lot of size, because
it offers more space than any other car of similar length (3.45 meters)
and width (1.63 meters).
– conceivable here are all facets of technology that can be
sensibly applied – will run in the rear. And that changes
everything: Space, mood and design.
de Silva, Chief Designer of the Volkswagen group, sums it up like this:
"The up! is not a car whose form will become obsolete within a very
brief period of time. It shines in its cleverness and yet is made with
loving care. And so the up! is a clear and strong statement for future
Volkswagen design." Furthermore, the team of designers and engineers
has envisioned the up! concept car as the first member of an entire
model line; other facets are entirely conceivable.
Willner, director of Concept Development, has final responsibility for
the technical layout of the up!. He and Walter de Silva had already
achieved a new balance in the mutual interaction between form and
function at Volkswagen before the start of the project. "Absolute
harmony of the basic technological concept and the emotional aspects of
the design", note Willner and de Silva in unison, "can only be achieved
in a hard clash of ideas between engineers and designers. That is the
only way to produce icons."
precisely why the up! is not your run-of-the-mill, small, tightly
packed car, but instead is a clever, innovative whole.
form is pure. It just had to look like this, no other look would do.
There is nothing superfluous, and its functionality – and so also
its design – speak for themselves. Simultaneously – and
this is typical of Volkswagen – uncompromisingly attention was
given to refining every line and every surface until we had created a
friendly and masterful car.
fact that the engine of the up! runs in the rear has a decisive
influence on its exterior design. That is because the up! has no
classic radiator grille. It forges links to the Beetle. This fact alone
gives it a great deal of independence. Dominant design characteristics
are the headlamps that take an inward and diagonal line, between them
the horizontally arranged air vents, the VW logo (as one of the few
details kept in chrome), the tailgate that extends far forward and the
smooth bumper with a circumferential black stripe as a detail of the
"happy face" that is typical of Volkswagen.
many areas, technology and design have melded into a vehicle
architecture that is not only appealing, but is also very utilitarian.
The rear end of the up! is a good example of this. The tailgate was
produced using a transparent material. Under this gate developers also
integrated the high layout of the taillights.
feature that is technically and visually new is the location of the VW
logo in the tailgate; it is also located behind glass and illuminates when the light is on. The rear bumper
was designed to match the "happy face" in front.
powerful appearance of the up!, despite all of its compactness, is
emphasized by a very wide track width (1.42 meters) relative to vehicle
width. The wheels are flush with the sporty outboard wheel arches and
side skirts. The radial design of the wheels and surfaces extending
right up to the edge of the rim make the 18-inch wheels appear
significantly larger than they actually are.
wheels that are arranged far outboard in the bumper areas reduce body
overhangs to a minimum. All of these features are part of an
unmistakable side profile with a very long roof arch as well as clear
and large surfaces. Giving shape to its style here are the large doors
and the lateral window surfaces, which incline sharply upward at the
height of the rear wheel arch and thereby help to form the very independent C-pillar design.
the engine in the rear opened up entirely new interior concepts.
Relative to its exterior size, the space offering is exceptionally
forward-thinking. The same is true of its variability: Except for the
driver’s seat, all other seats can be folded and removed. Since
they are designed as light shells, they can be quickly stowed in one of
the cargo areas – besides the front trunk there is also one in
the rear – to free up space. Afterwards, the entire passenger
compartment length can be utilized as a storage area for especially
To achieve the high
seating comfort that is usual at Volkswagen, besides their ergonomic
design, in the case of the up! this level of comfort is also attained
by a simple yet very effective trick: Similar to a self-inflating air
mattress, air can be sucked out of the seat surfaces via a valve. This
means that the seats can be adjusted 1:1 to the body anatomies of the
occupants who have just taken a seat.
its up! concept car, Volkswagen is presenting some completely new
solutions when it comes to operator controls. Klaus Bischoff, Chief
Designer for the Volkswagen Brand, comments on this: "Another reason
the up! is so fascinating is because everything, every detail, was
thought out anew. In the interior we have a touchscreen with new
proximity sensor technology for controlling the navigation, radio, trip
computer and climate control systems. It is operated absolutely
intuitively. As a result, the most complicated functions can be
controlled like child’s play."
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