Rumours of a hot Volkswagen up! have been brewing ever since a GT up! concept showed up during the launch of the original way back in 2011. But Wolfsburg has finally put its foot down by introducing the Volkswagen up! GTI concept at the GTI Meet at Wörthersee this year, with a production version confirmed for early next year.

Meant to harken back to the original Golf GTI, the up! GTI carries specifications that are almost a like-for-like match, with its 1.0 litre turbocharged TSI three-cylinder engine producing 115 PS from 5,000 to 5,500 rpm and 200 Nm of torque between 2,000 and 3,500 rpm. An honest-to-god six-speed manual transmission sends all that power to the front wheels.

Combined with a kerb weight of just 997 kg, this means that the up! GTI will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of 197 km/h. Despite the performance, the car is said to have low fuel consumption and emissions, thanks to automatic engine stop/start, regenerative braking and one of Volkswagen’s first uses of a particulate filter on a petrol engine.

Differentiating the sporty up! from the rest of the lineup are GTI-specific features such as a red stripe across the grille and a gloss black finish for the front bumper insert. Along the sides, there are deeper skirts, black stripes along the doors and GTI fender badges, while the rear end gains a larger, downforce-inducing rear spoiler, a black diffuser, a larger exhaust pipe and a red stripe across the tailgate.

Inside, Clark plaid fabric upholstery, GTI door sill trims, a sportier steering wheel and gearknob, red dashboard trim, a leather-wrapped handbrake lever, black headlining and red ambient lighting set the up! GTI on the inside, while 15 mm lower sports suspension and 17-inch Brands Hatch alloy wheels hiding 15-inch front disc brakes keep it glued to the road.