While showing off its credentials for being a car that can provide fun and quick, Volkswagen was working on a Lupo that consumed only three litres of fuel per 100km. Not as interesting but an amazing feat at the time. Admittedly, when I first saw the '3.0-litre Lupo' in Malta, I was taken aback thinking VW had fitted a 3.0-litre engine in the tiny city car. I was greatly disappointed when I spoke to the owner.
The Lupo GTI was fitted with lighter aluminium panels (doors, bonnet and wheelarches) and borrowed the Polo GTI's 1.6-litre engine, propelling the Lupo to 62mph in 8.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. Originally fitted with a five-speed box before acquiring a six-speed in 2002, these figures were enough to trouble most 1.8-litre Polo GTI owners. Inside, it carried on the GTI looks with sports seats, leather rimmed steering wheel, polished steel pedals and build quality to rival some of Volkswagen's larger and expensive models.
In this sector, the Renaultsport Twingo 133, Citroen C2 VTS and Mini Cooper can all be considered as strong rivals, but with its limited availability and superior build quality, the Lupo is the safe, yet fun bet.
SPECIFICATION - VOLKSWAGEN LUPO GTI
Engine: 1,598cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 125@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 112@3,000rpm
MPG: 38.7 (official combined)
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 70,000
Price new: £12,980
Yours for: £4,650