Press Release) Volkswagen International Motor Show, Frankfurt 2007
World Premiere of the up!
World premiere: Volkswagen up! concept car with rear
engine. Multivariable: City specialist offers more space, more
variability and more fun
Wolfsburg, September 2007. There are cars that endure for all times.
They are icons of their type, masterpieces of craftsmanship and
technology; they put ideas into motion, make progress tangible and
sometimes quite simply make everyday life better, more practical and
enjoyable. Many of these cars carry the VW logo. Bug, Beetle, New
Beetle, T1, Bulli, Samba bus, California, Golf, GTI. Now
Volkswagen is presenting as a world premiere at the International
Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt a concept car that once again has
the right stuff needed to move more than just one generation. It is
a small, pure and high-spirited Volkswagen that pays tribute to its
environment. The overall concept is marked by an innovative, clear,
intuitive functionality. The name of the concept car: up! a
positive name that is a synonym for departure, activity, dynamics
and the future. For Volkswagen, says Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board
Member with Responsibility for Technical Development, the response
of IAA visitors will be a decisive test to determine whether the
concept has the same kind of potential possessed by the Beetle at
one time or by the Golf today.
The up! is a city specialist, a car for four persons and all
languages, for the job, the university, the drive to the beach and
the excursion outside the city gates. A small car that shows a lot
of size, because it offers more space than any other car of similar
(3.45 meters) and width (1.63 meters). Its engine conceivable here
are all facets of technology that can be sensibly applied will run
in the rear. And that changes everything: Space, mood and
design.Walter de Silva, Chief Designer of the Volkswagen group, sums
it up like this: The up! is not a car whose form will become
obsolete within a very brief period of time. It shines in its
cleverness and yet is made with loving care. And so the up! is a
clear and strong statement for future Volkswagen design.
Furthermore, the team of designers and engineers has envisioned the
up! concept car as the first member of an entire model line; other
facets are entirely conceivable.
Ralf-Gerhard Willner, Director of Concept Development, has final
responsibility for the technical layout of the up! He and Walter de
Silva had already achieved a new balance in the mutual interaction
between form and function at Volkswagen before the start of the
project. Absolute harmony of the basic technological concept and
the emotional aspects of the design, note Willner and de Silva in
unison, can only be achieved in a hard clash of ideas between
engineers and designers. That is the only way to produce icons.
That is precisely why the up! is not your run-of-the-mill, small,
tightly packed car, but instead is a clever, innovative whole. Its
form is pure. It just had to look like this, no other look would do.
There is nothing superfluous, and its functionality and so also
its design speak for themselves. Simultaneously and this is
typical of Volkswagen uncompromisingly attention was given to
refining every line and every surface until we had created a
friendly and masterful car.
The fact that the engine of the up! runs in the rear has a decisive
influence on its exterior design. That is because the up! has no
classic radiator grille. It forges links to the Beetle. This fact
alone gives it a great deal of independence. Dominant design
characte-ristics are the headlamps that take an inward and diagonal
line, between them the horizontally arranged air vents, the VW logo
(as one of the few details kept in chrome), the tailgate that
extends far forward and the smooth bumper with a circumferential
black stripe as a detail of the happy face that is typical of
In many areas, technology and design have melded into a vehicle
architecture that is not only appealing, but is also very
utilitarian. The rear end of the up! is a good example of this. The
tailgate was produced using a transparent material. Under this gate
developers also integrated the high layout of the taillights.
Another feature that is technically and visually new is the location
of the VW logo in the tailgate; it is also located behind glass and
illuminates when the light is on. The rear bumper was designed to
match the happy face in front.
The powerful appearance of the up!, despite all of its compactness,
is emphasized by a very wide track width (1.42 meters) relative to
vehicle width. The wheels are flush with the sporty outboard wheel
arches and side skirts. The radial design of the wheels and surfaces
extending right up to the edge of the rim make the 18-inch wheels
appear significantly larger than they actually are.
The wheels that are arranged far outboard in the bumper areas reduce
body overhangs to a minimum. All of these features are part of an
unmistakable side profile with a very long roof arch as well as
clear and large surfaces. Giving shape to its style here are the
large doors and the lateral window surfaces, which incline sharply
upward at the height of the rear wheel arch and thereby help to form
the very independent C-pillar design.
Mounting the engine in the rear opened up entirely new interior
concepts. Relative to its exterior size, the space offering is
exceptionally forward-thinking. The same is true of its variability:
Except for the drivers seat, all other seats can be folded and
removed. Since they are designed as light shells, they can be
quickly stowed in one of the cargo areas besides the front trunk
there is also one in the rear to free up space. Afterwards, the
entire passenger compartment length can be utilized as a storage
area for especially bulky objects.
To achieve the high level of seating comfort that is usual at
Volkswagen, besides their ergonomic design, in the case of the up!
this level of comfort is also attained by a simple yet very
effective trick: Similar to a self-inflating air mattress, air can
be sucked out of the seat surfaces via a valve. This means that the
seats can be adjusted 1:1 to the body anatomies of the occupants who
have just taken a seat.
On its up! concept car, Volkswagen is presenting some completely new
solutions when it comes to operator controls. Klaus Bischoff, Chief
Designer for the Volkswagen Brand, comments on this: Another reason
the up! is so fascinating is because everything, every detail, was
thought out anew. In the interior we have a touchscreen with new
proximity sensor technology for controlling the navigation, radio,
trip computer and climate control systems. It is operated absolutely
intuitively. As a result, the most complicated functions can be
controlled like childs play.
The up! has two central displays. In the cockpit, a 8-inch monitor
shows the driver key information such as vehicle speed, fuel level
and range, as well as momentary CO2 emissions.
In the center of the instruments equally easy for driver and front
passenger to see and control an 7-inch monitor shows the way that
future human-machine interfaces will look and operate. Here all
conceivable functions can be controlled via the mentioned
touchscreen, which also reacts via proximity sensor to gestures,
i.e. specific hand movements.
Menuing was restocked and reorganized so that people without
computer science educations would be able to operate the system. The
developers intentionally separated display and control levels
from one another. Always shown on the screen is a control bar with
standard functions such as climate control or audio volume control.
Developers packaged functions of other higher-order systems
navigation, telephone, radio, images, movies, etc. on a display
level that has been referred to internally as the main menu
carousel a type of virtual carousel. It consists of the icons of
different system functions (telephone, navigation, etc.). When the
user touches the main menu carousel it can be rotated by
touchscreen. Visually, this control is just as spectacular as it is
intuitive. When the desired function appears on the main menu
carousel such as the telephone all the user needs to do is move
his or her hand to the display to switch over to the telephone menu,
thanks to proximity sensor technology. The new type of user control
is fun, easy to understand in any cultural environment and very
safe. That is precisely what is typical of Volkswagen.