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Volkswagen up!: What a New-Century Bug Might Look Like

Small City Car Concept Revives Rear-Engine Layout, Explores the Future of Interior Displays
At an event the evening before the official start of media days of this year’s Frankfurt auto show, Volkswagen revealed their latest city car concept. Small outside and big inside, the up! takes a layout similar to the first Beetle, with a rear-mounted engine (though VW did not specify what engine might be packed in back there).

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Cute and clever, VW may consider bringing the up! to the U.S. market in a few years. At less than 136 inches long, up! is about 30 inches longer than the smart fortwo, but about the same length shorter than the current New Beetle. Instead of a traditional center stack, up! offered a seven-inch touch screen that VW called “the way that future human-machine interface will look and operate.” Not only a touch-screen-based system for controlling navigation, climate, audio, and phone, a proximity sensor reacts to hand gestures. Once the element you wanted to control shows up in the menu, a simple wave of the hand brings up the specific control screen. Glad they cleared that up for us! Instead of gauges, there is an eight-inch screen in front of the driver, displaying all the relevant information. This small concept offers seats for four, with all but the driver’s seat removable and stowable. Described as similar to a self-inflating mattress, a valve allows air to be released and the seat adjusted for maximum comfort for any passenger.
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Many of Volkswagen’s concepts find their way into production eventually, and VW continues to explore solutions for a low-cost city car that is environmentally friendly, economical, affordable, and still profitable. Whether or not we see up! in the States, a four-door version is likely to find its way into production in a few years.
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Sure does remind me of the Mitsubishi i… looks more substantial, but the concept is very similar.
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