Unless you’re a seasoned car spotter, nothing about the Volkswagen Up! GTI screams horsepower. It’s a subtle hot hatch that looks like a big-wheeled city car to the untrained eye. Bulgaria-based tuner Vilner wanted to give the model a more visual look by drawing inspiration from Milltek, another well-known aftermarket player.
Vilner explained that the project was commissioned by a client who loved the look of Milltek’s GTI. “It is not uncommon for us that customers who like a project on the internet come to us with the idea of making their car one on one with the one you see. That is of course technically impossible, because the artist cannot. help, but leaves a personal imprint on his creation, and yet it is not correct to copy, ”said founder Atanas Vilner.
Originally white, the GTI received contrasting red, black and gray graphics on almost all body panels. Vilner replaced the number 35 with the number 21 at the request of the customer, although it did not explain why the car lost 14 integers. It also kept the 17-inch factory wheels instead of adding the rally car-style rims worn by Milltek’s build.
Volkswagen’s standard checkered upholstery has not been changed; many enthusiasts would regard even the slightest change as a criminal violation of automotive history. However, this one-off GTI got black and white fabric inserts on the center console, on the sun visors and on the door panels before it left Vilner’s shop.
Vilner hasn’t made any mechanical changes, so power still comes from a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine up to 113 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It is the first three-cylinder engine to be installed in a series-produced GTI badge car, and it turns the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Volkswagen quotes a sprint of 8.8 seconds from zero to 100 km / h. For context, the original Golf GTI had 110 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, and it took nine seconds to reach 100 mph from a standstill.
Although this is the first time that Vilner has performed an Up! The Bulgarian company is no stranger to working with customers to create unique cars. Past builds include a restored 1976 Datsun 280Z that was completely dismantled and rebuilt, and a turbo-diesel Jeep Wrangler converted into a luxury SUV. It has even worked on a selection of motorcycles, such as a BMW F800R built for a wealthy Russian businessman.