Officially, this new Volkswagen city car hot hatch is a prototype. Unofficially, it's an early preview of the GT Up! arriving towards the end of 2013. With a new turbocharged engine giving it the same power-to-weight ratio as the original Golf GTI, its appeal is clear.
In principal, the Up! GT is a simple stylish extension of the Up! range, with more power and torque from a fruiter turbocharged engine. However, since VW's hot hatch people have famously rediscovered their mojo, the inevitable wish is that it's so much more besides. It is, after all, the spiritual successor to the VW Lupo GTI.
The car we drove was shorn of the sporty bodykit worn by the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show concept. Again, VW has not decided a final look for this, but the show design is so inch-perfect, there's no need to change anything in our eyes. Key to it is the new front bumper housing big trapezoidal air intakes at the front, plus spoiler and diffuser at the rear.
There are also twin exhausts, big 17-inch alloys and suitably lowered suspension. With Golf GTI-style tartan hip-hugging seats and a soft leather version of the trademark flat-bottom Golf GTI steering wheel fitted to all Up!, it possesses the right ingredients. But does it perform like a baby GTI on the road?