Although a concept for now, the pocket rocket will be launched in 2018.

Volkswagen has released these official pictures of its new Up GTI ahead of its unveiling at next week's Worthersee festival. Said to embody the philosophy behind the original Golf GTI, the feisty car is being billed as a near-production concept and will hit the production line early next year.

The GTI treatment applied for the first time on Wolfsburg’s pint-sized model includes a three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI engine with 115hp on tap, thus making it 5hp stronger than its ancestor from 1976.

And while 115 hp and 170lb ft of torque might not sound like a lot of muscle, the Up GTI tips the scales at only 997kg. Despite being a lot heavier than the 810kg Mk1 Golf GTI MkI, the 0-62mph sprint takes a swift 8.8 seconds - two tenths of a second quicker than the Golf. As for the top speed, go all out and the Up GTI will hit 122mph or 9mph more than its ancestor.

Aside from being more powerful than the regular Up, the GTI stands out thanks to its slightly more aggressive body with beefier front and rear bumpers, roof-mounted rear spoiler, and bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels. Numerous glossy black accents further set it apart from the lesser versions, while the sportier suspension setup brings the car closer to the road by 15mm. Rounding off the changes on the outside are the black side strips and the typical GTI red piece of trim applied onto the grille as well as on the black tailgate.

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Hopping inside the cabin, the range-topping Up gets a sporty steering wheel wrapped in leather and adorned with the “GTI” lettering. Other goodies include the familiar tartan seat pattern and the GTI gear knob as one would expect from any GTI-branded VW.

When the production car will be launched at the beginning of 2018, it will look virtually the same as this one. It will allow customers to embrace the GTI spirit at a more affordable starting price, one that will significantly undercut the forthcoming Polo GTI’s sticker

Meanwhile, the concept will be exhibited in the coming days at the annual GTI Meeting at Wörthersee where VW's apprentices are going to show a tricked-out Golf GTI from the current generation.

Source: Volkswagen

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