Could the new Volkswagen Up GTI be the true successor to the Mk1 Golf GTI?

Volkswagen has revealed its smallest ever hot hatch in the form of the Up GTI.

Using the lightweight city car as a base, it’s got everyone asking the same question: is this the spiritual successor to the original Golf GTI?

Is the new Up GTI the true successor to the Golf GTI of the 70s?

Volkswagen Up

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From the outside, it’s set apart from the more standard supermini by a set of 17in alloy wheels, a lower stance and of course the famed red stripes surrounding the front grille – a nod to Golf GTIs of old if ever there was one.

Similarities to the old Golf continue in the power department. Its 1.0-litre turbocharged three cylinder produces 113bhp – that’s only around 5bhp more than a 1976 Golf GTI.

All the GTI hallmarks are there, inside and out...

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Thanks to an equally similar kerb weight, it manages the 0-62mph run in 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 122mph. Nothing special then, you may think. Well those stats don’t exactly suggest a sporting pedigree, for those who lament the passing of a back-to-basics, fun hot hatchback, those numbers are more than enough.

The original GTI, for example, could only muster zero to 62mph in 9 seconds, but it’s still heralded as one of the best cars ever made. So while it may have become faster with every generation, it also became heavier, removing some of the charm of the original.

It looks like the new Up GTI could be the answer – it gets the go-kart like feel of an older hot hatch thanks to a lowered 15mm suspension, but keeps the impressive safety and emission standards of a brand-new car.

There’s more trademark GTI trim visible internally, most notably the iconic tartan seat material and a special GTI gearknob. Apart from that however, it’s business as usual, with air conditioning and a rather simple infotainment system coming as standard.

No release date has been announced yet, but expect the first ones to hit UK roads early next year.

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No UK release date or list prices have been announced for this junior hot hatch yet, but it’s likely to hit the road early next year and be priced from around £17,000. If you can’t wait until then, you can check out lease deals on the current Golf GTI here.

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