Tokyo show: Volkswagen’s baby Up! gets plug-in hybrid technology – and 256.8 mpg

Concept car borrows XL1 tech

VOLKSWAGEN HAS unveiled a version of its baby Up! city car capable of a super-miserly 256.8mpg.

Using a modified version of the hybrid powertrain from the VW XL1, a car focused purely on efficiency, the Twin Up! concept car has been slightly lengthened, while still retaining impressively compact proportions for a four-seater.

Under the bonnet is an 800cc, two-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 27kW (36bhp) electric motor, to provide a combined maximum power output of 74bhp. The 8.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and 33-litre fuel tank are positioned between the car’s rear seats and boot. A seven-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox performs cog-shifting duties.

A slippery shape, low weight (1,205kg) and low-rolling resistance tyres help the car achieve 256.8mpg on the combined cycle, while the diesel-electric hybrid system contributes to the vehicle’s very low CO2 output figure of 27g/km.

VW says that on electric power alone, the car can accelerate from 0-37mph in 8.8 sec, and to a top speed of 77mph. The electric range is 31 miles. Bringing the diesel engine into the mix gives a 0-62mph time of 15.7sec, and a top speed of 87mph.

The design of the car follows that of the pure-electric e-Up! model. The principal colour is Sparkling White. It includes blue flakes that shine in the light to create what VW calls a “spectacular changing pattern”. The interior is dominated by an off-white, ceramic colour, and a fabric and leather combination upholstery featuring blue piping, and reflective strips on the seats’ centre panels.

The Twin Up! was described by Hans-Jakob Neusser, VW’s head of R&D, at the Tokyo motor show as an engineering prototype with future production potential, so watch this space.