Volkswagen unveiled the innovative Volkswagen up! city car concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Based on a completely new platform and drivetrain, measuring just 3.45 meters in length (11.3ft) the up! marks the return to a rear-engined layout seen in the original Beetle.
The up! concept, designed by a team led by Walter de Silva, marks the debut of a new styling direction with simple features while retaining a recognizable VW `face'.
At the rear is a tailgate constructed from of a transparent material, with a glowing VW roundel inset into the centre.
The up! concept is intended as inspiration for a new family of small, extremely efficient vehicles. It can be powered by a choice of compact two- or three-cylinder engines, depending on the market.
Despite its modest proportions, the vehicle is capable of carrying four adults. Maximum interior space was created by pushing each of the four wheels as far into the corners as possible. This frees up space and reduces overhangs but also improves stability.
The need to maximize efficiency continues to the vehicle's interior. Each of the individual, lightweight seats, which feature inflatable pockets to maximize comfort, can be folded and removed in order to carry larger loads.
The up! concept rethinks the way in which both the driver and passengers interface with the vehicle. Unique software linked to a touch-sensitive screen has the ability to sense specific hand movements to access the climate, entertainment and vehicle controls. A second screen, mounted ahead of the driver, relays critical information on the vehicle's systems along with an instantaneous read-out of the amount of CO2 being emitted.