Volkswagen Up

Outstanding packaging, sub-1,000kg kerb weight, sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and autonomous emergency braking make this A-segment vehicle the benchmark city car

The entry-level version develops 44kW/95Nm and returns figures of 4.5 litres/100km and 105g/km CO2, but specify the stop-start system and emissions fall to 97g/km. The 50kW compressed natural gas version will be even better: just 79g/km.

“And at the moment we have only variable valve timing on the intake cam. It’s also possible on the exhaust side,” Persigehl says. “It’s good for torque and, of course, for CO2.”

In parallel with the new engines, VW also developed new five-speed transmissions for the Up; manual and automated manual (AMT). Both are very light – less than 30kg, including fluids. The firm’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission isn’t an option – too expensive for this segment, Wagner says.

So instead VW robotised the manual transmission’s clutch and shift actuation and developed the control software to give very good fuel consumption. The quality department paid a lot of attention to the shift quality of other AMTs in the market, Persigehl says, and spent a lot of time optimising refinement. 

Driving through the traffic from the centre of Rome towards the coast, the first thing that struck me was the appalling congestion. Every getaway from the lights is treated as a race, so the powertrain engineers’ work on transient response will be appreciated by customers.

And given the way other drivers cut in and out of lanes, choosing the autonomous braking feature from the options list – it costs less than air conditioning and a stereo upgrade – could be a good investment.

Driving along the coast road using all of the engine revs was fun, but on the cruise back into the city the vehicle was very refined, with little road or engine noise. The ride is excellent too, especially over bumps and potholes.

The chassis engineers will have to work hard to maintain that attribute on the electric version which goes on sale in 2013 – the battery will add a lot of weight. The competition will be even tougher by then – a next-generation Fiat 500 is due – but the Up should be a lot more successful than the Fox ever was.

VW EA211 1.0

Configuration: Inline three-cylinder
Displacement: 999cc
Bore: 74.5mm
Stroke: 76.4mm
Bore pitch82.0mm
Cylinder head: Aluminium alloy; integrated exhaust manifold
Cylinder block: Aluminium alloy; cast-in cast-iron liners
Valvetrain: DOHC 12V; intake cam phasing
Compression ratio:10.5:1
Fuel injection: Port fuel injection
Turbocharger: Honeywell series-sequential
Max power: 50 or 55kW at 6,200rpm
Max torque: 95Nm from 3,000 to 4,300rpm

tags: Dec 2011 Volkswagen Powertrain