Volkswagen Up! goes for the Mini's mojo

The tiny Volkswagen Up! concepts that VW flooded Frankfurt with this year won't see American shores — but if they perform as well as VW seems to think they will, Europeans should soak up all the extraneous exclamation points VW can build.

The vanilla Up!s (hey marketing geniuses, this is why you don't put punctuation in proper names) hitting the European streets this year will sport a choice of 59-hp or 74-hp three-cylinder gas engines and a litany of customizable junk. To show just how Mini-like the Up!i could become, VW showed off several concepts, from the nautical-themed doorless Up Azzurra to the white Up GT with a 100-hp turbo three-cylinder.

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The only Up! that really seems to hold some promise is the Buggy Up!, the version imagined as a beachgoing take on the microcar. It still needs a power transplant, but pairing down the doors and removing the roof gives the Up! a sense of fun that a typographically misplaced exclamation point simply can't replace.