Showing posts with label Volkswagen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volkswagen. Show all posts

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

We've given Volkswagen a fair amount of flack for the 2011 Jetta – and justifiably so. All the things we held dear in previous generations – high-end materials, solid driving dynamics and that general sense of premium the Germans do so well – were all nixed in the name of market share.



But as we suspected, it's working. Jetta sales in the U.S. are up 74 percent over last year as consumers view the redesigned, cut-priced sedan as an upmarket contender to the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze. And honestly, more power to them.



What we've really been waiting for is this, the 2012 Jetta GLI. Packing VW's ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a six-speed manual or optional DSG and an independent rear suspension, the GLI is here to assuage enthusiasts' fears that VW has lost the plot in its relentless pursuit of global market dominance. Just as Porsche hasn't given up on sports cars as it expands into un-Porsche-like segments, neither has VW in its efforts to appeal to more people. But unlike Ferdinand's second child, we still have the nagging sense that Volkswagen is leaving something on the table – despite the GLI's potential on paper.


From 40 yards out, it's hard to tell the GLI apart from a standard Jetta. Get closer and even the deeper front spoiler, honeycomb grille and vertical fog lamps pulled from the GTI do little to convey the same racy presence of its hot hatch stablemate. The standard 10-spoke, 17-inch wheels even look a little dinky in their wheel wells, despite the red brake calipers. Thankfully, an optional set of 18-inch, split five-spoke rollers (pictured below) up the aesthetic game and come coated in 225/40 R18 Dunlop SP Sport 01 AS rubber that makes for a worthy upgrade over the standard 225/45 R17 all-season Continental ContiProContacts.



2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI side view2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI front view2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI rear view



The Jetta's tune changes on the inside. And to excellent effect.



Behold, a soft-touch dash; convincing aluminum trim on the dash and flat-bottom, leather-wrapped wheel; bolstered seats coated in optional V-Tex leatherette; and contrast red stitching abound. It's all a massive improvement over the bargain-basement interior we've endured in our Jetta TDI long-termer, although the GLI's plastics go from high-class to low-brow as soon as your hand ventures south (perhaps to be expected considering its plebeian roots).



But why this endless discussion of interior materials? Here's a prime example: Volkswagen is introducing its Fender Premium Audio System into the Jetta lineup for 2012. It's solid, with crisp highs and a punchy low-end when equipped in the GLI Autobahn ($25,545) and Autobahn with Navigation ($26,445) models. Forget for a moment the ironic reason why rockers started using Fender amps to begin with – artful distortion – and let's focus on the lows. When the kick drum popped at a volume level over 15 in our tester, there was a subtle rattling from the passenger-side door. A few minutes of feeling around and we finally found the culprit. The map pocket is made of low-grade plastic and the vibration from the bass rattled the cubby against the cover. Not cool, but a perfect case-in-point about why we harp on discount materials.



2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI interior2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI front seats2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI dash2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI door speaker



But this isn't a story about a reworked interior on a $23,495 Jetta (although it could be). This is about how the GLI holds up as a GTI sans-hatch. And to that end, it's exactly what you'd expect.



Power from the 2.0T is unchanged for sedan duty, with 200 horsepower coming on at 5,100 rpm and peak torque – 207 pound-feet – flowing from 1,700 rpm and up. We spent about 20 minutes in the DSG model (+ $1,100) and found it... fine. But as per usual (particularly in this segment), the manual is the driver's choice – even in start-and-stop traffic.



Clutch take-up is on the high and light side, so puttering around town doesn't require a Tour de France-honed left leg. The shifter standard VW fare, with an enlarged knob and slightly long throws providing a choice of six forward ratios. Braking is handled by 12.3-inch vented front discs and 10.7-inch solid rear rotors, all of which add up to a predictable, linear pedal feel that only began to fade after two particularly torturous runs through the Virginia hills outside VW's North American headquarters.



2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI engine



While the 2.0T continues to gain accolades for its linearity and tunability, VW's tried-and-true turbocharged four-pot is starting to show its age, despite a recent reworking. Two hundred horsepower was plenty for a front-driver in 2005, but consider that the Kia Optima Turbo, BMW's new turbocharged four and – hell – even the old Cobalt SS all make more ponies with the same displacement, and the GLI can't help but feel somewhat ill-equipped for the modern age, even if it gets the job done nicely. We still managed some wheelspin in second gear when planting our right foot and you can hit 80 mph in third gear if you're so inclined, but there's not much happening on the far side of the tach, despite peak horsepower arriving further along in the rev range.



The other added benefit of swapping the GTI's drivetrain directly into the Jetta is the inclusion of the XDS cross differential that's engineered to reduce torque – and thus, wheelspin – to the inside wheel through a corner. As with the GTI, the ABS-based system works, but constant flogging means brake fade comes on stronger than in something with a mechanical torque-vectoring diff. We also experienced momentary traction control engagement with the left front loaded and the right coming over a crest. That's more a product of an uneven (and likely untested) surface than an engineering fault, but considering there's no off switch for the traction control, it's worth noting.



2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI headlight2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI grille2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI wheel2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI taillights



The other core driver bits, specifically the electrically assisted steering, 15mm lower ride height and bolstered seats, are more tuned to around-town runs and freeway cruising than all-out tarmac assaults. Feel from the wheel is above-average, if not overly communicative, and the seats do their best to hold you in place, unless your personal curb weight is on the malnourished side. On the topic of tonnage, the GLI with the six-speed manual comes in at 3,124 pounds, with the DSG-equipped model slipping in just over 3,150 pounds. Compared to the GTI organ donor (three-door manual at 3,034 pounds and up to 3,160 pounds for the five-door automatic), the weight increase is negligible.



Driving the GTI and GLI back-to-back, the suspension work performed on the Jetta combined with the extra 2.9 inches of wheelbase (101.5 vs. 104.4, respectively), made the GLI the more comfortable cruiser – but at the expense of engagement. The extra weight over the rear provided by the GTI's hatch and the shorter space between the wheels made it noticeably more chuckable, with the rear rotating ever-so-slightly and allowing the front to tuck in quicker when adjusting the throttle mid-corner. The seating position – admirable in the GLI – was exceptional in the GTI, and considering the added utility of the hatch and the nominal penalty rear seat passengers pay in the legroom department (35.5 inches for the GTI and 38.1 inches for the Jetta), only regular people-schleppers and hatch-haters would be better served with the sedan.



2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI rear 3/4 view



What we're left with is an overall impression that Volkswagen has made the 2012 Jetta GLI for people who just want more. More power, more flash, more amenities and an interior that doesn't make you retch. In that, they've succeeded. But what VW hasn't made is a real sports sedan. For those people, the Golf R – despite its hatchback – is the what they're after.



Yet for the masses, the Jetta GLI fits the bill. Like the standard Jetta before it, the GLI seems to leave some of what we appreciate on the table, but in exchange nets a total package that's more endearing to the average buyer. While the GLI is closer to what we want than the standard Jetta, it's still at least 20 horses and a stiffer suspension short of ideal. And what bothers us more than anything is that we know VW can deliver it.




Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rumormill: Volkswagen greenlights Bulli for production

http://www.sportscarsfans.com/images/script/image.php?id=285F_4D8481F8

What did you think of Volkswagen's Bulli concept, which was just shown for the first time at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show? VW is apparently hoping you liked it, because rumor (via Autocar in the UK) has it that it's going into production.

The concept version is powered by a 113-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which can reportedly be charged in less than an hour. We don't know if the electric powertrain will make it into the production vehicle (our guess would be no, but who knows?), and there is no word on pricing. Still, how cool would it be to once again see a modern Volkswagen Microbus prowling the streets of America? The mind reels at the possibility.

[Source: Autocar]

Friday, 8 October 2010

Paris 2010: 2011 Volkswagen Passat says hello in person

2011 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen was so eager to unveil its new Passat that it revealed the car a day before the Paris Motor Show actually begins. It's received the Jetta treatment to some degree, but the softer looks may actually work better on the Passat than for its smaller brother.

The all-new Passat is intended for an older demographic and the styling seems to reflect that. We look forward to seeing it on our shores. Speaking of which, the 2011 goes on sale in the United Kingdom this October and then will roll out to other European and global markets, not including North America. Us Yanks will wave bye-bye to the Passat next year and welcome the New Midsize Sedan, or NMS, that Volkswagen's developing just for us.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: 2010 Volkswagen CC R

2010 Volkswagen CC R

Oh Volkswagen. How is it that the automaker of the people makes what just might be the sleekest, sexiest sedan in the world? No offense to A-M's Rapide, but the Volkswagen CC is not a two-door coupe with a stretch and some rear-doors grafted on. The CC is clean sheet, or at least as clean sheet as the Passat's hard points allow for. And now with the CC R, it's even better looking. And no, we're still not buying the four-door coupe marketing nonsense, no matter how many times someone quotes Wikipedia at us. The CC R is dreamboat sedan.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: CC R – tee hee hee. We can't imagine the "there's a bad moon on the right" jokes ever ceasing. That's mindless naming conventions for you. Aside from that, the R badge (or R-line as they call it here in the land of yummy sausage, pickled everything and friendly, frisky fräuleins) is very identical to Audi's S-line. So all show and no go. But if you're going to do it...

Frankfurt 2009: 2010 Volkswagen Phaeton

2010 Volkswagen Phaeton



When it comes to the Phaeton, we really don't care what anyone else thinks. The only justification we'll offer is that back in the early 2000s, VW's ubermensch Ferdinand Piech took off the calf-skin gloves and dropped the mother of all gauntlets. He told commanded engineers to build A) the very best high performance hypercar the world had ever seen, and, B) an equally superb luxury sedan. The results, as you may have guessed, were the Veyron and the Phaeton. A little bit of this high high-falutin' zeitgeist rubbed off on the Touareg as well -- especially the twin-turbo TDI V10 monster.

The whole Phaeton can'o'worms is quite messy in the States. To put it bluntly, the grand sedan completely failed. Still, anyone that's spent so much as thirty seconds in the back seat knows that the Phaeton's failure in WalMart country had nothing to do with the Phaeton. Proof? Volkswagen, who by year's end is projected to be the largest automaker in the world and therefor knows a thing or two about cars, is bringing the Phaeton back to our red, white und blue shores. This particular Phaeton Exclusive (featuring the universe's glossiest, deepest and darkest black paint) is actually sporting the 2007 facelift. But you can rest easy, secure in the knowledge we'll be getting the new Phaeton when it returns to the US in 2011.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: Volkswagen Golf R20

Volkswagen Golf R20

The Volkswagen R20 returns some brawn to the styling of the body Golf after a lengthy flirtation with smaller, svelter lines. And we, for one, are happy about it. Things get started right up front with the lower grille and it's Audi-RS-and-R8-reminiscent openings and strakes. From there it's an easy flow back over a body a-bulge with just the right taste in creases and lines. We're still waiting for a less hipster tailpipe treatment to return, but we're happy with the car nevertheless. The interior gets the trim-and-texture treatment to identify it as a 270-hp flyer, and the seats complete the job by letting your butt feel what your eyes can see. Speaking of feeling, those earlier 60-mph runs were a little off: the manual gets to 62 in 5.7, the DSG in 5.5.

PRESS RELEASE

World premiere 7: Golf R as most powerful Golf ever Automotive passion has always had something to do with performance. However, Volkswagen is demonstrating – in the world premiere of the new 199 kW / 270 PS Golf R at the IAA – that fuel consumption values can be corrected downward even in the high-end sports car area. The highlight here: While in the now retired Golf R32 (184 kW / 250 PS), 10.7 litres of fuel was processed by the injection system every 100 kilometres, on the new Golf R – thanks to a boosted high-tech TSI – the figure is just 8.5 litres, which is 2.2 litres or 21 percent less! The all-wheel drive Golf R (350 Newton-meter torque between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm) sprints to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds (Golf R DSG: 5.5 seconds) and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. Two of the many identifying visual features of this exceptional Golf conceptualised by Volkswagen Individual: newly developed LED taillights and LED daytime running lights. The Golf R can be ordered in Germany starting at the end of this year.

Golf R-Line – Sporty exterior and interior packages plus 17-inch wheels

Wolfsburg/ Frankfurt, September 2009. The new Golf R – like the current Passat R36 and Touareg R50 – was developed by Volkswagen Individual, the specialist when it comes to sporty and exclusive high-end models. Volkswagen Individual developed the "R-Line" equipment packages for all those customers who want the especially dynamic styling of body
and interior in the spirit of the power-enhanced R models, yet prefer a conventional powertrain. The company is simultaneously presenting three models of an entirely new generation of R-Line vehicles at the IAA: the Golf R-Line, Scirocco R-Line and Passat CC R-Line. They will all be launched on the market this autumn. Together with versions
already introduced on the Touran, Tiguan, Passat, Passat Estate and Touareg, a total of eight models with R-Line features will be ready at the start.

Volkswagen Individual has also repositioned its "Individual" product brand; in the future it will market products under the "Exclusive" label and bundle a range of especially high-end models and equipment features. A dual premiere: The first Exclusive model to be offered will be the brand new Golf Estate; it is crossing over from an all-purpose vehicle to a lifestyle estate car. Other models will follow in succession.

The new Golf R-Line

The R-Line version of the world's bestseller was emphatically given a sporty flair. In configuring their new car, buyers can choose between an interior and an exterior package. The two R-Line packages may also be ordered together.
Exterior package: Its body appearance has been customised with 17-inch alloy wheels in a new design ("Mallory" type, 18-inch optional), sport chassis, body coloured side skirts and bumpers that have been modified compared to the normal Golf and Golf R. The exterior is completed by decorative door tread plates with R-Line logo, a roof edge spoiler ("GTI"), high-gloss black ventilation grille (radiator and lower air intake) as well as a diffuser also in glossy black. The lens covers of
the taillights are also smoked. On its sides, the Golf is identified by R-Line logos (front fender at height of A-pillar).

The interior package of the R-Line program impresses with a leather multifunction steering wheel (three spokes, R-Line logo in lower spoke, multifunction keys in the two cross spokes), stainless steel pedal caps and foot support, R-Line door tread plates, sport seats ("R-Look" fabric design) with R-Line logo integrated in the head restraints and a R-Line
specific interior decor. All seams are in "Art Grey", a light tone of grey.

A full leather interior ("Vienna") will be available as an option.

Frankfurt 2009: World Premiere of the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept

Volkswagen E-Up! Concept

While today might be the middle of September, 2009, Volkswagen is looking to the future. 2013 to be exact. That's when Chairman Martin Winterkorn says they'll be launching the E-Up!, an all-electric city specialist. The E-Up!'s killer app is the lightweight lithium-ion battery that kinda tips the scales at five hundred pounds. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the Panasonic Metal Case Prismatic pack in the Prius weighs over 100 pounds and has a gasoline engine to boot. Not so with the E-Up! The whole teeny kit and kaboodle clocks in at a sprightly 2,387 pounds.

Volkswagen's already calling the E-Up! the Beetle of the 21st Century (no word from VW on how the current New Beetle feels about it), and based on their claim that 100 kilometers (62 miles) of driving can be had for just €2 (like five bucks) we see no reason to protest. Interestingly, the E-Up! is the smallest VW ever, so tiny in fact that it's a 3+1 seater. Because Volkswagen largely eliminated the E-Up's dashboard, the front passenger seat is about five inches forward of the driver's seat, increasing the leg room for that person seated directly behind the passenger. The person seated behind the driver, well, he's out of luck. But in a pinch you can carry around a fourth passenger.

There's a 1.4 square meter solar panel on the roof that adds power to the E-Up!'s electrical system. Not enough power? Flip down the solar cell covered sun visors and voila! -- you have 1.7-meters of solar power. That power in turn spins a electric motor that makes 155 lb-ft of torque at zero rpm. This can move the E-Up! from a standstill to 60 mph in just over eleven seconds. News flash: the E-Up! is not a Lamborghini. Still, if like Volkswagen is predicting, E-Up!s (or is that E-Ups!?) will spend most of their time in the city then who cares? Future E-Up! owners, we guess.

PRESS RELEASE:

Update on the Future

New Small Family with E-Motor: E-Up! Concept – Outlook for the Beetle of the 21st Century


World premiere: Volkswagen is presenting city specialist with electric motor

Winterkorn: We will launch a zero emissions Up! on the market in 2013
Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, 14 September 2009 - Volkswagen is presenting a pioneering fleet of new sustainable automobiles at the 63rd International Motor Show (IAA) – an update on the future. The range of IAA premieres extends from the world's most fuel-efficient production passenger car (BlueMotion) to hybrid technology and an electric car developed from the ground up – the E-Up! that is being presented in a world premiere in Frankfurt.


Plain text – E-Motor plus TDI and TSI shape the future

Altogether, these Volkswagens are revising milestones on the timeline between present and future. "One of the basic milestones on this timeline," says Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, "is the mass produced electric car. Yet, to be a genuine success such an electric car must be affordable to a broad customer base and must be uncompromisingly practical in everyday driving. Only then, in high volumes, and ideally on all continents, can one truly speak of the beginning of the electric age in automobiles and a perceptible reduction of their environmental impact." The Group chief continues: "Nonetheless, until the production numbers of a purely electric car approach the success curve of a Polo, its schedule will indicate the year 2020 at the earliest. That is why our highly efficient TDI and TSI engines are the most important waypoints of the present. They will continue to be a dominant force for decades. And they are what allow us to make the step-by-step transition to the future. Cars with pure petrol and diesel engines – which in the foreseeable future will continue be unbeatable for mid- to long-range distances – will be supplemented by cars like the E-Up! in upcoming years, especially in the city. And that will happen starting in 2013. The concept car now being presented in Frankfurt very realistically shows how we envision such a Volkswagen with pure electric drive – technically, visually and with regard to a practical size."

The zero-emissions concept car designed under the leadership of Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Brand, and Head of the Development business area, is based on modules of the New Small Family anticipated in the year 2011, but at a length of 3.19 meters it is even more compact. It also offers an innovative 3+1 seating concept. In its styling, the powerful and clearly drawn lines of the E-Up! body follow the new Volkswagen "design DNA" par excellence and show cult potential. That is because never before has an ultra-compact vehicle – which does not aim to be retro but forges new paths instead – brought such appealing, timeless, class-independent and dynamic qualities to light. Inside, the smallest Volkswagen ever also astonishes with its impressive space utilisation.


Drive unit – battery and integral drive

The 135 km/h fast 3+1 seater is driven by an electric motor with a peak power output of 60 kW (continuous power: 40 kW). The motor of the front-wheel drive car, which is mounted in front, develops a maximum torque of 210 Newton-meters right from rest. The driver activates forward or reverse gear via a rotary knob in the centre console. The fact that the E-Up! will also quite clearly offer driving enjoyment is demonstrated by a look at the car's classic 0 to 100-km/h sprint time: 11.3 seconds. The E-Up! develops even greater responsiveness in the intermediate sprint from 0 to 50 km/h in city driving: 3.5 seconds. This dynamic performance is based first on the electric motor's excellent torque characteristic and second on the low kerb weight of the E-Up!, which is just 1,085 kilograms.

Lithium-ion battery: The car's low weight is quite astounding, given the fact that 240 kilograms are taken up by the lithium-ion battery. The implemented battery's energy capacity of 18 kilowatt-hours (kWh) enables driving distances of up to 130 kilometres, depending on driving style – enough for the city and the drives of most commuters. The E-Up! will be "refueled" in the garage at home, in a parking structure or on the road at one of the future municipal recharging stations that will be enabled by chip card. Depending on the available charging infrastructure and the battery's momentary charge state, the storage battery could be charged to up to 80 percent of its total capacity within an hour.

If the batteries are recharged in a home garage, for example, by plugging it into a 230-Volt household outlet, this would take a maximum of five hours. Generally, off-peak night-time electric rates are very inexpensive. So refueled at night the E-Up! could be driven 100 kilometres for just two Euros in electricity costs (about 14 Euro cents / kWh).

The batteries themselves are housed in the underbody of the E-Up! To optimally distribute the weight of the battery system, it is housed in a special, crash-protected tray in the underbody frame. Air cooling ensures a constant heat balance within the batteries. The fans and heat exchangers needed for this are housed in the front section of the underbody.

Integral drive: The teams of Concept Development (headed by Ralf-Gerhard Willner) and Engine Development (headed by Dr. Jens Hadler) integrated all important drive assemblies and auxiliary assemblies in the engine compartment at the front end. The design of an integrated form of the electric drive made a key contribution toward reducing weight and space requirements for the drive unit. Background: All components important to the powertrain are unified in compact form in the so-called integral drive. In this unit, the electric motor, together with the transmission and differential, form the centrepiece of this drive. Energy is supplied via a high-power pulse-control inverter, which is combined with the 12-Volt electrical system DC/DC converter and the charger to form the compact integral drive. At 140 kilograms, the integral drive is also very lightweight. To summarise its advantages: low space requirement, ideal acoustic comfort, high torque and power development and strong driving performance in the city. So the system fulfils the requirements of an innovative electric drive in a nearly ideal way.


Styling – the Beetle of the 21st Century

The E-Up! emphatically demonstrates that emission-free Volkswagens will be anything but lacking in emotion. Responsible for this, once again, is the team led by Group Chief Designer Walter de Silva. Together with Klaus Bischoff (Chief Designer, Volkswagen Brand) and Flavio Manzoni (Head of Creative Design, Volkswagen Group), he developed a layout for the E-Up! that reflects the visual bandwidth of the future New Small Family. The E-Up! bears a resemblance to previously presented concept vehicles of this new model series – the Up! (city specialist), Space-Up! (microvan) and Space-Up Blue! (fuel cell powered van) – it represents a design stage that reflects the future production car even more closely.

"The E-Up!", says Klaus Bischoff, "is characterised by a reduced, very clear and yet highly emotional design." And that is certainly no coincidence. The car's lines consistently follow Volkswagen's new era "design DNA" that was developed by de Silva, Bischoff and Manzoni. Its key stylistic traits: Simplicity, purity, durability and perfection of its technologies and quality. Bischoff: "The new concept is therefore very much in harmony with its stylistic 'siblings' of the New Small Family, the Roadster BlueSport and the new Polo." Dimensions of the E-Up! are 3.19 meters (length) x 1.64 meters (width) x 1.47 meters (height). Its wheelbase is 2.19 meters.

Front end: Although E-Up! styling was developed from the Up!, the electric car differs from conventionally powered models in the new model series. Consider the front end: It fits in perfectly with the brand's new family face, yet at the same time it refers back to one of the greatest icons in automotive history in the area of the engine bonnet: the Beetle. Nonetheless, the E-Up! does not reveal the slightest hint of retro styling; instead, designers created new and unmistakable styling tools that would carry the small Volkswagen far into the future.

Fitting in with this image are the headlights with their facet-like lenses – cut like diamonds – that extend over the entire width of the lens cover. Another interesting detail: the fog lights. At first glance they can hardly be recognised as such. The designers have configured them as C-shaped, chrome-trimmed elements in the headlight housings. Also style-defining is the black line running in a circular pattern in the bumper – a typical characteristic of the New Small Family. "In the interplay of all elements, the bumper, headlights and engine bonnet," explains Klaus Bischoff, "the E-Up! really appears to smile. And that is how it should be." Conspicuous: There are hardly any openings at the front end, since there is no need for separate cooling of the drive unit.

The VW logo on the V-shaped engine bonnet of the E-Up! is more than just an homage to the Beetle. Hidden behind the folding logo is the integrated port for charging the batteries. The advantage of positioning the plug port here is that it makes it easier to recharge the E-Up! from stations on either the left or right sides of the street or directly in front of the car.

Side profile: "In keeping with Volkswagen's "design DNA" the side sections also exhibit a high level of stylistic purity, following the Bauhaus principle created in the 1920s in Germany that 'less is more'," says Flavio Manzoni. This car's visual identity is very intentionally created by just a few graphic elements that blend together to form a new unit in the classic Bauhaus approach to creative art and innovative technology. These defining elements of the E-Up! side profile include its side glass and shoulder styling line above the door handles known as the tornado line. The side profile styling is further defined by the car's short body overhangs, the confident outward shaping of the wheel housings and unique C-pillar. Flavio Manzoni explains the special presence of the C-pillar: "Visually, the vertically aligned C-pillar is positioned above the rear wheel, which conveys a feeling of balance and solidity. These properties are indispensable for a Volkswagen. Last but not least, the prominent and powerful wheel styling gives the car a perfect 'demeanour'".

Rear end: The basic graphic forms of the tailgate and rear bumper follow those of the very first Up! However, the once again completely glazed tailgate now exhibits significantly larger taillights in dark smoked glass look. Running through the taillights is a line trimmed in chrome that extends across the tailgate. The circular chrome line unites the two taillights in a vertical direction. These accents are also reflected in the matching graphic element of the front and rear bumpers.

Solar roof: The roof of the E-Up! is equipped with solar cells over an area measuring 1.4 square meters. This area – between the rear part of the roof edge spoiler and the front windscreen – can be enlarged to 1.7 square meters in total by folding down the sun visors that are also equipped with solar cells. The solar cells continuously supply energy to the car's electrical system, and while the vehicle is parked they help to cool the interior by supplying energy to the car's ventilation system.


Interior I – Instruments and controls

Flavio Manzoni: "The interior was designed in complete harmony with the car's exterior styling, and it exhibits a similar aesthetic with a technical-purist influence." To improve the electric car's energy economy by avoiding unnecessary loads, actuators such as mirror adjustment and window lifts were designed to be manually operated. Nonetheless, the highly innovative E-Up! makes its appearance with an impressive array of future generation high-tech displays and controls. They are all quite self-explanatory, and the car's controls are intuitive, making driving and life with this Volkswagen as simple and stress-free as possible.

HMI: The concept car has a touch-screen based HMI (Human Machine Interface) with intelligent E-Up! specific indicators and assistance functions. During navigation, the system continually monitors the momentary load state of the batteries, for example, as well as activated energy consumers such as lights and air conditioner, momentary traffic data, elevation profiles of potential routes and the locations of available charging stations. The driver can display these "filling stations" at any time; available charging stations may be reserved within a defined reservation time period.

The charging process can also be precisely planned to the minute via the HMI. This lets users charge the E-Up! during a specific time period in which electricity is available at special low rates. The charging process can be activated at any time via an intuitively operated application installed on an iPhone or similar mobile device, even from outside of the vehicle. Even more: From the application users can query the momentary charge status and vehicle location (the latter via map display) or simply check whether the car is locked. Moreover, to preserve vehicle battery power the program lets users pre-condition the E-Up! interior. This involves cooling or heating the car's interior as long as the car is still connected to the charging station and is drawing its electrical power from the electrical grid.


Interior II – 3+1 seating concept

The generous space implemented over a total vehicle area of just 5.1 square meters is absolutely astounding. Several factors are responsible for this clever packaging. First, there is the reduced size of the instrument panel, which was shifted further forward than usual toward the engine compartment. This was enabled, among other things, by optimising the components within the instrument panel. Second, the small Volkswagen is a 3+1 seater. This means that the front passenger seat is located 50 millimetres forward, thanks to the instruments being shifted further forward. This layout increases leg room in the rear behind the front passenger tremendously. As a result, two adults can sit comfortably on the passenger's side. Stepping into the vehicle is also simplified by an Easy-Entry feature, which allows the front passenger's seat to be pushed up to 270 millimetres away from the rear bench. There is less leg room behind the "normally" positioned driver's seat; the space here was designed as a spare seat.

Additional freedom of movement is provided to rear passengers by lowering the centre tunnel in front of the rear bench seat; it serves as an additional footrest. This enables use of an electric handbrake in the style of the Passat, so that no lever mechanism obstructs the footwell.

Cargo area: The clever packaging solutions do not end there: To optimise comfort in the rear, the rear seat backrest is split 40/60. When the backrest on the driver's seat is folded down (40 percent section), stowage capacity is increased from 85 to 180 litres (with loading to the upper edge of the front seat backrest). This stowage space can be enclosed by a load barrier that folds down out from the folded backrest. When the entire rear seating backrest is folded down, a stowage capacity of 320 litres is created. It is even 520 litres when loaded to the roofliner. To transport long objects, the front passenger's backrest can also be folded to a pass-through position. In this configuration, the E-Up! can handle objects up to two metres in length.

This high degree of variability will also certainly characterise the affordable production version of an Up! powered by an electric motor. That is because electric cars, as Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn insists and therefore wrote into the specification for this future Volkswagen, must be truly affordable and offer uncompromising everyday practicality.


Micro-mobility in the city – made by Volkswagen

Volkswagen is comprehensively addressing implementation of this everyday practicality. These efforts not only encompass the vehicle itself, but the entire environment around the car driver. In the city, for example, this includes the realisation that after parking the E-Up! people will want to cover shorter distances without a car – from the job to lunch, to the fitness studio, another meeting, whatever is on the day's schedule. For these shorter trips, the Volkswagen "Micro-mobility in the city" concept team has invented clever zero-emission micro-vehicles. The Kickstep, for example, which is an ultra-compact folding scooter. And the electrically powered Microbully, a scooter that also fits easily in the E-Up! load space. There is also the ped-tric, a folding bike with electric motors built into the wheel hubs that could also make the trip to the city aboard the E-Up! And even the VW_1M, a large electric moped – the size of a carry-on case when not in use – that could be stowed in the E-Up! without even needing to fold down the rear bench seat. Such micro-mobility solutions were created at the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam. So the E-Up! will be putting many things into motion. In 2013 this will become a reality for the first time
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