Earlier this year, Volkswagen SA told CARmag.co.za that the new Up! GTI was not destined for our shores. The reason? Well, the local arm of the Wolfsburg automaker said that the “current exchange rate would make this a very expensive car, potentially competing with other models in our range”.
And now VW has given the little pocket rocket a starting price in Germany, prompting us to whip out our calculators to see just how expensive the smallest GTI actually is…
Well, crudely converting Germany’s starting price of €16 975 to our money brings us to a basic figure of about R271 000 (at today’s exchange rate). Add SA’s obligatory import duties (even if we take into account SA’s seldom-talked-about trade agreement with the EU regarding engines displacing less than 1,0 litres), taxes and the like, along with the cost of actually shipping the vehicles from the German brand’s factory in Slovakia, and the local price would likely swell well past the R300 000-mark.
That’d put the Up! GTI firmly into entry-level Golf territory and make it far pricier than, say, the current Polo 1,0TSI R-Line and Polo 1,2TSI Highline. And that simply wouldn’t make sense…
For the record, the current local Up! range comprises four variants (all powered by a 55 kW naturally aspirated 1,0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine), with the Up! Beats and Cross Up! topping the line-up at R197 900 apiece.
So, what exactly are we missing out on? Well, the Up! GTI employs a 1,0-litre three-cylinder TSI engine with a peak power output of 85 kW and maximum torque of 200 N.m. With a kerb weight of just 997 kg and a suspension drop of 15 mm, VW says the Up! GTI tops out at 197 km/h, with the claimed zero to 100 km/h time coming in at 8,8 seconds.
The smallest GTI also features a cheeky rear spoiler, while the cabin gains a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel, a signature GTI gear knob and the trademark GTI upholstery pattern.