2011 Volkswagen Buggy Up! concept.
Freedom. A buggy is more than just a car; it is an automotive lifestyle feeling. It was born in California in the 1960s and was based on the Beetle, which provided the engine and the chassis. The rest was created by buggy pioneers such as American Bruce Meyers: out of GRP, or glass-reinforced plastics.
Buggies have had a cult following that continues to today. That is reason enough for Volkswagen to now present a 21st century buggy concept based on the new up!: the buggy up!. This buggy is not made of GRP, but instead of strong, high-tech, lightweight construction steels. Yet, the conceptual approach for developing the two-seater, as original as it is, still follows the lead of historic models from California.
Openness. The (reinforced) underbody, running gear and drive technology of the up! were kept, while the roof-less exterior skin of the body was completely redesigned, and the ride height was lowered by 20 mm. Nonetheless, the design of the buggy up! with its headlights, the position of the VW badge – and signature trait of the front bumper that appears to smile – all tie the car to the two-door up!. Yet, everything is different: the bonnet is built much flatter, the bumpers show an independent character, the roof is not just clipped off, rather it takes its idea from small convertible sports cars. The rear section was also completely redesigned. This is logical, because the buggy up! does not have a boot like the "normal" up!, nor does it have any C-pillars. However, it is immediately recognisable as an up! by its rear lights, which are like a reflection of the headlights. Practical: the bootlid is constructed of two pieces; the main part of the lid lifts upward like a classic bootlid, but the section above the bumper folds down, like the tailgate on a pick-up. And this makes it extremely easy to stow even heavy and bulky items. On top of the lid, there are also tie-down straps for a set of luggage.
Safe. The designers also made this up! a purebred buggy in its side profile. Of course, it has no doors, but in their place it has extensive body reinforcements and a sturdy roll bar behind the two seats. Especially cool: the open side sills. This makes the experience of open-air driving even more exciting than in a conventional convertible.
Snappy. At 3,584 mm, the buggy up! is somewhat longer than the production up! with a hard top (+44 mm), and its width of 1,672 mm is somewhat wider (+31 mm). As might be expected, the height of the buggy up! comes in significantly lower at 1,288 mm (-190 mm). The minimalistic overhangs, front and rear, show sharp styling. Filling the wheel housings are 18-inch alloy wheels – enormous for a vehicle of this size – which have 205/40 tyres.
Colorful. The area above the bumper and the open side sills are in the colour "hot orange", which was specially created for this vehicle; those who think back to the buggies of the 1960s when they hear this colour name are right on track. The bumpers and side sills are designed in a matt and rugged "metallic grey" colour. The same colour schemes dominate in the interior.
Waterproof. As is proper for a beach vehicle, the new interior styling is completely waterproof. Drains in the vehicle floor and the open side sills prevent flooding. Even the neoprene coated shell seats have water drains, so that no water accumulates in the vehicle after a swim in the ocean. If it should rain for a longer period of time, it is possible to stretch a sail between the window frames and the roll bar.
Sound. The controls for the infotainment system also sport a waterproof design. Among its features, the system has an iPod/iPhone dock. The entire module can be removed – including the integrated active loudspeakers – so that it can be used as a sound system for parties on the beach.
Go-kart. Compared to the two-door up! the buggy up! has a lower seat position – in keeping with the lower vehicle height. The specially designed seats were lowered by 58 mm compared to the production model. To ensure that everything makes ergonomic sense for the driver, engineers reduced the basic angle of the height-adjustable steering wheel by 4 degrees to an angle of 21 degrees. The result is a go-kart feeling. A sturdy handle is installed on the dash panel for the front passenger – just as it once was in the Beetle – because one never knows what lies over the next dune. In essence, the buggy up! is pure emotion, but it is easy to drive and very safe. A car that would not only be good to drive in California.
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