Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI: Spotted


I agree with Dafydd that the Up GTI is a nice car. I've had a go in one earlier this year and loved its cheeky character, diminutive dimensions, lightness, but most importantly, the additional power over the weedy naturally aspirated Up. However, I've also driven a normal, turbocharged Up and was also impressed by its cheeky character, diminutive dimensions, lightness, but most importantly, the additional power over the weedy natural aspirated Up. This has gotten me thinking, could you do an Up GTI on the cheap?

Now, I know this is going to sound like the classic case of relieving oneself all over another person's (or in this case, Volkswagen's) bonfire, but I don't think the Up GTI is significantly different over the regular car to justify the expense. It's fun, don't get me wrong. It's just that like most modern cars it'll err on the side of caution and the stability control will cut in early to kill any tyre-scrabbling antics just like the regular car, and both change direction just as quickly because of their relative lack of weight. Other than an extra ratio in the gearbox, you are actually splitting hairs trying to tell them apart.


Volkswagen could have gone quite a lot further with this car, but didn't. And why should they have bothered to, because what competition does it actually have? The Renault Twingo GT is a dud and the only fans of the Abarth 595 are chiropractors because the ride does your back in.So, I propose that you could buy yourself a standard, used 1.0-litre TSI Up with its 89bhp engine and then employ the services of a tuning specialist to fiddle with the ECU to up the power. The GTI has 115hp and produces 148lb ft of torque from 2,000-3,500rpm, which are very healthy numbers for a tiddly little car. A quick search on Google brings up a number of tuning companies, but I found one that says it can up your Up's potential to 131hp and 183lb ft of torque at 3,250rpm. Serious numbers that they say are within tolerance. So much so, they'll back up their work with a 12-month/30,000-mile warranty.

Are there drawbacks? Well, yes. Firstly, I think Volkswagen will take a dim view of any modification you do and will use that to invalidate the manufacturer's warranty on the engine. You'll also need to inform your insurer to keep things above board. However, you'll end up with the ultimate Q-car Up that will be faster than the more obvious GTI version. Get yourself a High Up like the one we've found and barring the sixth gear, you'll have the same specification as the GTI, and all for thousands less than the £14,055 car PH currently has on its fleet. I know I'm tempted...


SPECIFICATION: VOLKSWAGEN UP 1.0 TSI

Engine: 999cc, three-cylinder, turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power(hp): 89@5,000rpm
Torque(lb ft): 118@2,000-3,500rpm
MPG: 64.2mpg
CO2: 101g/km
First registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 5,000 miles
Price new: £13,120
Yours for: £10,999

See the full ad here.

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Comments (37) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Dale487 04 Nov 2018

    May be in a few years time, i.e. Once it's out of warranty, cheaper & the price gap opens up. And I suspect an Up GTI will be cheaper to insure than a modified Up TSI, you know what insurance companies are like.

    Plus looking at this the a decent part of the Up GTI's appeal are the understated sporty looks - a Q-car does have an appeal of its own too. And I always felt my MK2 Fabia Monte Carlo 105TSI would have benefitted from a 6th gear ratio, I can't see the Up being any different.

  • pwj1959 04 Nov 2018

    Errrrr GTi steering wheel (straight from the Golf GTi), interior, uprated brakes & suspension........the UP GTi looking more like a bargain. Did you mention the cost of the 'chip'? Go through a broker (I have) for nearly £1k off list........more of a bargain!

  • Toyoda 04 Nov 2018

    A certain poster incoming in 3, 2, 1 ...

    But as above, assuming uprated suspension and brakes on the gti, the idea of tuning the boggo model makes little sense, not unless they could be had for half the price.

    Edited by Toyoda on Sunday 4th November 09:02

  • kieranblenk 04 Nov 2018

    Dale487 said:
    May be in a few years time, i.e. Once it's out of warranty, cheaper & the price gap opens up. And I suspect an Up GTI will be cheaper to insure than a modified Up TSI, you know what insurance companies are like.

    Plus looking at this the a decent part of the Up GTI's appeal are the understated sporty looks - a Q-car does have an appeal of its own too. And I always felt my MK2 Fabia Monte Carlo 105TSI would have benefitted from a 6th gear ratio, I can't see the Up being any different.
    I have the Mk3 Fabia Monte Carlo with the 110 TSI and 6 speed box - its very refined at speed so I would want the 6 speed again in a similar powered car. It doesn't have much pull in sixth obviously but does settle the car down a lot. I can imagine the Up TSI is a fair bit busier than the GTI.

  • Ron99 04 Nov 2018

    The 90PS engine is fitted with noticeably longer gearing than the 115PS so it might not matter that the 90PS doesn't have 6th gear.

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