Volkswagen has just taken the wraps off its Up! Lite concept, which will, the automaker says, prefaces a production car that's just two years away.
The four-seat concept car has a promised fuel-economy figure of 70 mpg (and carbon emissions of 65 g/km) from a hybrid diesel 0.8-liter two-cylinder. With an extremely low drag coefficient of 0.24, the turbodiesel engine, lithium-ion hybrid pack and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Up! Lite concept has more advanced technology in it than most of Volkswagen's current lineup--and according to VW, it makes it the most fuel-efficient four-seater in the world.
The concept takes fuel-efficient design to an extreme, with space for four in an aerodynamically optimized body, built on an aluminum, steel, and carbon-fiber body shell.
Performance specs are impressive, especially considering the exemplary fuel-efficiency. Volkswagen cites a 0-60 mph time of just 12 seconds, with a top speed of around 100 mph.
An innovative system of three cameras takes the place of rearview mirrors. Two are placed alongside, where the side mirrors would otherwise be, further aiding aerodynamics, and a touch-screen inside the vehicle controls the mirror views (along with other functions). Movement sensors access other controls for phone and entertainment.
VW's chief designer, Klaus Bischoff, said that with the Up! Lite they started with a clean design approach, carving the shape as if it were from a block of aluminum. "Every line has its reason," he said, adding that every design detail has a reason rooted in efficiency. Wheels are also a weigh-saving design employing ten carbon-fiber spokes with aerodynamic covers.
In front, the Up! Lite has integrated LED running lamps and turn signals, with a hood that slides forward just enough to access vital fluids.
The Up! Lite is the latest in a succession of concept cars under the Up! name, including electric vehicles and a two-seat city car. The Up! family is expected to spawn production cars that will become VW's emerging-market core products--slotting in beneath today's Polo.
VW U.S. chief Stefan Jacoby confirmed to High Gear Media that the Up! Lite will be built with a new hybrid system on VW's New Small Family (NSF).
Stay tuned for more pictures of the Up! Lite from the show floor.