Last week, Volkswagen revealed the first official images and details of the long-awaited Up! GTI. Unfortunately for local VW fans, this little pocket rocket is not destined for our shores (for the time being, anyway). And now we know exactly why...
Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed to CARmag.co.za that the "current exchange rate would make this a very expensive car, potentially competing with other models in our range".
While pricing has yet to be released for any market, we'd speculate that VW SA is making reference to derivatives towards the middle (or perhaps even a little higher, depending on just how much the Up! GTI would actually cost) of its popular Polo range.
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 R196 800 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.