At 3,540 mm in length and 1,641 in width, the up! is one of the smallest four-seater cars available. Its overall length consists of remarkably short body overhangs and a very long wheelbase (2,420 mm) – a body layout that fully utilises the available space.
Dimensions of the up!
|width, w/out door mirrors, mm||1641||1640||1682|
|front track, mm||1428||1428||1463|
|rear track, mm||1424||1424||1456|
|luggage capacity, litres, seats up||251||260||280|
The up! was designed by a team led by Volkswagen Group Head of Design, Walter de Silva, and Volkswagen Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff. In commenting on the concept for the up!’s design, Bischoff says: ‘The perfect layout of a small compact car is based on a box with a wheel at each corner. The up! is one of the very few which comes close to doing this. It is not just the relationship between the wheelbase and the overhangs which is important, but also that of the vehicle’s width and track. From any angle the wheels must be positioned as far to the outside of the vehicle as possible, so as to make the compact body stable and reliable on the road. It is therefore the objective, without further design and detailing, to lend a unique and solid appearance to the car. The shape must be right, even before important elements like the front design or the side window graphics establish the character of the model.’
Viewed from the front, the up! appears to smile, due to the prominent lines of the bumper. And it is intentionally smiling, according to de Silva, having been designed to incorporate the elements of both ‘simplicity and sympathy’. He explains: ‘Sympathy is part of the up! concept. It combines the friendliness of the Beetle with the rational perfection of the Golf.’
Integrated in its friendly face is the Volkswagen logo, the only chrome element at the front end. The up! can make do without large air cooling intakes due to its small petrol and natural gas engines and electric motor that will follow later. The headlights are significantly smaller than those of other Volkswagens, yet they are visually very prominent. Bischoff comments: ‘The front-end designs – from the up! to the Phaeton – all follow the same styling guidelines. The models are unified by such style elements as a strict emphasis of horizontal lines, joining of the grille and headlights and the conciseness of short angles. And yet, despite their clear brand affinities all Volkswagens are differentiated from one another. Crucial here are the differences in the proportions of the individual components. This leads to highly individual vehicles that span the model range from the congenial up! to the sophisticated Phaeton.’
In side profile, the significant flares of surfaces and alternation of convex and concave forms define the car’s styling. A slight concave groove above the side sill creates an accent in the continuous surface, but the side profile does not show any seams or edges except for the wheel housings and the look of the side windows. The wheel housings are prominent and their lateral surfaces – the so-called wheel mirrors – are very large, making the diameters of the small wheels (14 to 16 inch) appear even larger.
The design of the windows gives the up! an unmistakable look as well. A short angle in front creates a formal connection between the lower-lying window edge and the bonnet. A long ascending line in the rear third of the vehicle matches that formed by the rear wheel and the C-pillar. This interplay of lines reinforces the image of the C-pillar being supported by the rear wheel, a characteristic which – in interaction with the long wheelbase and short overhangs – underscores the crisp proportions of the up!. Over the short, steeply-rising bonnet, there is another line that leads over the windscreen and roof to the rear. There, the car’s silhouette first follows the side windows then finishes in a near vertical curve down to the bumper.
The up! has a large bootlid, which extends right down to the bumper. This so-called hybrid bootlid consists of three basic layers. Its outer skin consists of a transparent glass element. The bootlid forms an integral unit with the vertically oriented rear lights. In detail, the bootlid is constructed of a load-bearing framework upon which a second sheet-metal layer is laserwelded in place with the integrated trailing edge of the roof. The outer third layer of the bootlid is the glass element that is joined by adhesive. It extends down from the trailing edge of the roof over the entire bootlid and incorporates the rear window as well as the lower area of the lid. The border around the rear window and the lower section are coated in black from the inside. Forming a contrast to the black are the chrome surfaces of the Volkswagen logo and the up! badge. The bootlid is opened by pressing a button in the handle beneath the Volkswagen logo.
Although they look like a part of the bootlid, the large tail-lights of the up! are actually joined to the body. Their red surfaces are very distinctive, especially in their interplay with the white C-shaped elements. The lower third of the rear section is dominated by the bumper with its wide licence-plate panel and surrounding seam. The front and rear bumpers are painted in body colour as standard.
With a Cd value of 0.32, the new up! achieves exemplary aerodynamic performance for its class, and this results in improved refinement thanks to reduced wind noise as well as lower fuel consumption.
At Volkswagen, the first steps in refining a car’s aerodynamics are made in a very early phase of the project using a simulation process known as CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). Because of its cost and time advantages, this process has since replaced evaluation and optimisation with real 1:4 scale models. An important aspect of the CFD process is its ability to represent very realistically the vehicle’s details digitally. Step by step, this method optimises a car’s aerodynamics on the computer. Not until this process has been fully exploited are wind tunnel measurements conducted on a real full-scale aerodynamic model at a suitably mature development level. At this stage, the aerodynamic model is covered with an exterior skin of clay, enabling quick changes to be made to the vehicle’s shape. In addition, the 1:1 model already has realistic shapes of engine compartment and underbody structures and in turn, this enables quick optimisation of parts that are very important to aerodynamics such as the front and rear spoilers and underbody panels. The designs of aerodynamically relevant add-on parts are then finalised based on measurements from the first prototypes.
In establishing the up!’s aerodynamics, special attention was given to attaining a minimal front overhang. With this goal in mind, the sides of the front section of the up! were shaped so that the air would flow around the wheel housings with minimal turbulence. In attempting to reduce every possible gram of CO2 emissions, the position and size of the front spoiler was also optimised progressively; in the final design, another 1.1 g/km CO2was saved which may seem insignificant but all adds to the final figures. At the same time, the final front spoiler design reduces front and rear aerodynamic lift coefficients of the up!, resulting in even safer driving characteristics.
The design of the rear section also has a crucial effect on the car’s aerodynamic performance. Intensive fine tuning of the aerodynamics of the up! has resulted in contours that both preserve styling targets and achieve defined flow separation, including in the side panels at the rear. In the process, the rear spoiler contour was tuned to the design of the lateral trailing edges. The sum of all of these measures yields the Cd value of 0.32 mentioned previously. In conjunction with the vehicle’s frontal area of A = 2.07 m2 the total aerodynamic drag of the up! is a very good 0.67 m2.
In order to design a car which is structurally safe and yet achieves a low overall weight, it is imperative to use the most innovative manufacturing technologies. For this reason, the body materials of the up! consist of 8.1 per cent ‘hot-formed’ steel content, meaning the parts exhibit extreme toughness (including the floor and B-pillars); the car’s body weight was reduced by 13 kg just due to the use of hot-formed steel. Moreover, by consistently downsizing engine technology, using high-strength steel and relentlessly removing every superfluous gram, developers succeeded in reducing the weight of the up! by 140 kg or 13 per cent to 929 kg compared to its immediate predecessor (the Volkswagen Fox) – and that is a significant difference.
In the area of the front side members, sills and side roof frame, so-called dual-phase steels are used which, together with hot-formed steel panels, create the basic structure for the safety occupant cell. The up! also sets top values in the segment with its 39.3 per cent share of ultra-high-strength steels and 17.2 per cent share of high-strength steels. Only 24.9 per cent of the weight of the body structure consists of conventional deep-drawing steels, which are used for visual parts that are very challenging to manufacture, such as exterior parts of the side body or rear wheel housings.
The result is an especially rigid body structure which exhibits comfort levels expected in the next vehicle class in the areas of acoustic and vibration behaviour. This is attributable to the layout of nodes and load transmission points, in other words, the available installation spaces are optimally utilised by means of a three-shell body structure, so that the occupant cell is surrounded by sturdy, computationally optimised profiles.
Despite challenging requirements for body rigidity and crash properties, the car’s lightweight index – a measure of the efficiency of weight utilisation – was improved by 34 per cent compared to the Lupo. The up! also sets new standards in its class with its static torsional rigidity of 19,800 Nm/degree which is important as high torsional rigidity has a definite positive effect on comfort and handling properties. In parallel, the dynamic rigidity of the up! is also excellent at 49 Hz – and this benefits acoustics, vibration and driving comfort. In its smallest model, Volkswagen has clearly not compromised on safety, quality or comfort.
One only has to sit inside the up! for a short time to realise that use of space is exceptionally good, and this is because of its wheelbase – one of the longest in the segment – together with a compact engine mounted well forward and a new running gear design. Although the up! is a small car, for its driver and three passengers it is by no means cramped.
The newly developed modular seats – which serve as the basis for a wide range of seat variants for specific up! versions – offer very good driving comfort. The front seats of the up! are 15 per cent lighter than those of comparable concepts. The head restraints for the driver and front passenger are firmly attached to the seats, meaning that, regardless of a person’s stature, they always fit properly. In the rear, fixed head restraints are less desirable, because they could restrict rear visibility.
Under the leadership of Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, the up! team placed great emphasis on good ergonomics. ‘The up!,’ says Hackenberg, ‘really is perceptibly more comfortable, because its occupants do not sit too low, and it offers ample leg support and knee room. Detailed refinements characterise the entire interior. Compared to the Lupo, for example, we positioned the steering column and steering wheel higher, but we designed the angle to the driver to be somewhat more horizontal. This has clearly improved the car’s ergonomics.’
The car’s interior dimensions support these remarks by Dr Hackenberg; headroom in front is an impressive 993 mm, and 947 mm in the rear. The seats are positioned at a good height both front and back; for the driver and front passenger, the so-called H-point – the vertex where the seat and seatback meet – is at a height of 306 mm; in the rear the H-point is at 378 mm. This somewhat higher seating position for rear passengers affords them a better view over the shoulders of the driver and front passenger.
The up! is also practical, with numerous storage compartments and a high level of attention to detail in its interior design. Along with a large storage bin in the centre console and the glovebox, there are storage surfaces and bottle holders (up to 1.0 litre bottles) in the two doors, three cupholders in the rear (three-door model) and two bag hooks plus a variable cargo floor in the boot (from Move up!). The glove compartment is equipped with a holder for pens and pencils, a notepad and coins; there is also a compartment for glasses; and the coat hook was integrated in the B-pillar in such a way that it is visible through the window from outside, and so it can be easily found.
There are three central elements to the instruments and user interfaces: the instrument cluster in front of the driver; the switch module in the middle of the vehicle with radio-CD and heater / air conditioning controls; and the detachable Maps & More infotainment and navigation unit (optional on Take up! and Move up!, standard on High up!).
The instrument cluster consists of one or three (from Move up!) analogue instruments and one digital display. In the Move up! and High up!, for example, the largest of the three round analogue instruments is the speedometer in the centre with the integrated digital multifunction display that is an optional feature. The multifunction display also shows information relating to City Emergency Braking and the Stop/Start system. To the left of the speedometer there is the tachometer, and to its right the fuel gauge.
Controls for the ventilation or air conditioning system, radio-CD system, hazard indicator lights, seat heating and rear window defrost, as well as the switch for deactivating the Stop/Start system, are all located in the central dashboard module between the driver and front passenger. The entire unit is located up high – so that it is easy to see and use – and it is painted in gloss black. It’s interesting to note that every up! is fitted with its ‘own’ individual wiring harness with its electrical system pre-configured for the features fitted, thereby reducing the cost and weight of installing unnecessary cables.
The interior of the up! is not only designed to be functional, stylish and simple, it is also intended to offer fun and a high level of quality. Especially high-end is the dash pad, the design panel in front of the driver and front passenger which, depending on the equipment line, is either finished in grained Cornsilk Beige or painted black, or in body colour (High up!). While the upper section of the dashboard is always anthracite, buyers of the Move up! and High up! can order the lower dashboard section in a Cornsilk Beige, in which case the centre console, door inserts and side trim panels are also finished in this colour.
At 251 litres, the boot sets a best-in-class value for cargo capacity; and when the seatback of the rear bench is completely folded down, the up! can handle 951 litres of cargo and on a nearly flat cargo surface. The boot itself is upholstered with carpet, and so is the cargo area cover, which opens wide and can be quickly removed if necessary. A variable cargo floor that can be adjusted to two different levels is standard from the Move up!. When the rear bench seat is folded down, the upper cargo floor position creates a nearly level cargo surface, and small objects can also be stowed beneath the cargo floor in this position. The lower cargo floor position is used if especially large and bulky objects need to be stowed in the boot.