Volkswagen GT up! Concept

An Autocar UK report has confirmed that Volkswagen will introduce a range-topping GTI model for its up! city car, which is set to debut in 2018 in three- and five-door body styles.

Targeting the Fiat Abarth 595, the up! GTI will use a more powerful version of the company’s new 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. In the facelifted up!, the EA211 mill provided 90 PS and 160 Nm but the GTI will see about 115 PS and 200 Nm of torque.

Buyers will also get to choose from either a five-speed manual or possibly a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. In terms of performance, the report stated that up! GTI prototypes were able to make the century sprint in 8.8 seconds (compared to 10 seconds), and will hit a top speed of about 191 km/h.

Compared to its Italian rival, which packs a larger 1.4 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the up! GTI will be at a power disadvantage. The T-Jet mill in the 595 Turismo provides up to 165 PS and 230 Nm of torque, and even more in the 595 Competizione (179 PS/250 Nm).

Power aside, the up! GTI will also receive a heavily retuned MacPherson strut (front) and torsion beam (rear) suspension setup, featuring its own spring and damper rates, together with a lowered ride height.

It will also get a host of GTI-specific exterior styling revisions to compliment the boost in performance, such as different bumpers, 16-inch wheels with 205/40-profile tyres and wider sills. The GT up! concept from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is a good point of reference as to how the GTI version will look like.

GALLERY: Volkswagen up! facelift