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Event : 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

2012 Volkswagen Up! - Frankfurt Auto Show

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer

Volkswagen's newest city car is officially headed for dealerships. The automaker revealed the production version of the Up! at the Frankfurt Auto Show, announcing final specs, pricing and other details for the tiny, urban-focused hatchback.

Starting at €9,850 - or around $13,500 US including Germany's costly value-added tax - the Up! features a choice between three different 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines: two powered by gasoline, and the other by natural gas. While the base-level gasoline engine produces just 59 horsepower, the optional gas-powered motor raises the bar to 67 hp. Volkswagen says the Up!'s futuristic natural gas-powered motor bumps output even further up to 74 hp.

Measuring just under 140 inches in length - or more than a foot shorter than a Mini Cooper - the Up! is available in three trim levels, each cleverly named to tie in to the hatchback's unique moniker. Entry-level models are dubbed Take Up!, while mid-level versions are designated Move Up!. VW reports that the Up!'s top-level version - to be called High Up! - will come in two distinct versions known as the Up! White and Up! Black.

One of the Up!'s most interesting selling points is its standard low-speed automatic braking technology. Dubbed City Emergency Braking by Volkswagen, the system makes sense on a city-focused model like the Up! According to VW, City Emergency Braking will stop the Up! automatically at speeds of up to 18 mph if it detects an imminent collision. Volkswagen says the Up! will be the only car in its class offering the technology as standard. 

According to Volkswagen, the Up! is available for immediate ordering in Europe. American customers will have to wait, as the automaker has not made a final decision on whether to bring the small hatchback stateside. If VW does sell the Up! in the US, it will compete with a rising number of tiny challengers like the Scion iQ, FIAT 500 and Smart Fortwo.

See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.
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2012 Volkswagen Up! - Frankfurt Auto Show