If this concept makes it to the show room, I will no longer have to endure my father's jabs about how modern Volkswagens - with their front-mounted engines - aren't "real" volkswagens. The rear-engined "Up" concept, which is to be officially revealed at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, GM this month, invokes the spirit of the original Beetle in terms of size, layout and affordability. It is a return of the "Peoples Car." In fact, the Volkswagen PR people are hinting that the Up is in-line with the new direction that the Wolfsburg-based car company is headed. To think, this comes from the company that, just-five-years ago, revealed the Phaeton-a super luxury sedan with a price tag north of $80 grand.
The Up concept is rumored to be an eco-friendly, low-buck ride targeted to compete in the same market segment as the Mercedes-Swatch Smart Fortwo. The Smart Fortwo, which has been available in the rest of the world - including Canada - for years, is destined for our shores in the first quarter of 2008. Unlike the two-seated Smart, the Up will have room for four and space for groceries too. The Up's size - just 11' 11'' long and 5' 6" inches wide-is comparable to the original Beetle which measured 13' 4" long and 5' 1" wide. Volkswagen claims that, due to the position of the engine and design of the cabin, the Up will be spacious on the inside , infact, having more interior room than the Lupo or past examples of their widely popular Golf hatch-back.
Finally, as you can see from the Volkswagen press photos below, the Up's front fascia bears a friendly face that - may not look much like the old Beetle - but does look like a happy, new bug.