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Volkswagen Up! Lite Concept Unveiled At Los Angeles Auto Show - Web Exclusive

Dec 11, 2009

Last year, Volkswagen unveiled it’s original Up! concept but they’ve taken it several steps further this year. Last week, VW debuted its new Up! Lite concept in Los Angeles which is said to set new standards in fuel economy and efficiency.

Packaged in a body with a coefficient of drag measuring just 0.237, the Up! Lite is capable of seating four people comfortably. Its hybrid drivetrain can travel 115.7 miles on a single gallon of fuel while emitting just 65 g/km of CO2.

The most important thing to remember is the car’s new curb weight of 695 kg (1532 lb)!

Powering the Up! Lite is an 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine developing 51hp at 4000 rpm and 88 lb-ft of torque between 1800 and 2250 rpm. The engine is combined with an electric motor developing 14 hp to give the Up! Lite a useful boost when overtaking. The electric motor can also be disengaged from the diesel engine entirely and used during low speed driving. Gear changes are done by a seven-speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearbox. As with the current range of BlueMotion models, the Up! Lite uses a Start-Stop system to maximize efficiency and regenerative braking.

The Up! Lite is constructed from a mix of lightweight materials including aluminum and carbon to keep the vehicle’s weight down. Even the diesel engine has been cut to just 55 kg (121 lb).

The Up! Lite debuts a new styling direction with references to current cars such as the Polo and Golf but with entirely new elements such as the rear end styling and the window line. The concept is slightly shorter than the Polo and is designed to maximize aerodynamics. This includes the front radiator grille which shuts off completely when it’s not required and tiny cameras which take the place of conventional wing mirrors.

The minimalist theme continues in the interior which features bright, clean surfaces to reduce clutter. The main controls are grouped around the steering wheel, while a touchscreen monitor handles the climate and entertainment functions. Up front, the driver and passenger seats fold forward to allow access to the rear seats. For larger loads, the rear seats and the front passenger seat can all fold flat into the floor.

The Up! Lite is intended as a step towards a viable production car so keep your fingers crossed!

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