The Up! by Volkswagen is something that I quickly fell for when I heard there was a TSI/TFSI motor in some models.
A lot of people aren't a fan of these new compact Hatchbacks but I think they look good. I have always loved smaller cars like the Renault Clio and VW Polo, beacuse a smaller car is usually lighter and more nimble which is a logical choice if you are a spirited driver.
I really, really love the look of this Car. For most of 2018 I wanted to drive this Up! after a friend drove some Laps on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and didn't stop going on about it being the BEST and MOST FUN thing he had driven on Circuit! The 7UP decals are a great Marketing Tool which has made this particular vehicle the most famous VW Up! in the World ;-)
Apex has been open for just over a year and is based in the Centre of Nürburg Village. They are situated across the road from Rent4Ring GmbH where I work Full Time with our own Rental Cars (R4R Swift, R4R Race Prepared BMW 125i), also offering Circuit Guidance, and other services for Private Customer vehicles at Rent4Ring Service GmbH.
Since their official opening we have seen great things from Apex and I also follow their online blogs when I have spare time. 'Spare' time at the Nürburgring doesn't actually exist during Season because everybody is so busy working! Thousands of people arrive from all over the World - making it a very interesting place unless you are like me and hate all people equally (I'm joking..)
For those of you using Mobile Devices, I have added a few photographs between the Text. To view ALL of the images please read until the end then continue scrolling down to see some extra pictures of the Car. Desktop PC/Laptop users will be able to view all images whilst reading.
When testing vehicles that I work on privately, I always drive the Main Road down to Adenau and head up my favourite set of twisties up to Hohe Acht! This is also an infamous section of the Nordschleife Circuit and is known for catching people who are unaware while driving at speed. At 746 Meters above Sea Level, Hohe Acht is the highest mountain in the Eifel region!
There is also a network of footpaths around Hohe Acht, and at many places there are good views around the incredible Eifel landscape. In winter the Hohe Acht has some very good winter facilities including prepared cross country Skiing trails, Toboggan runs and Ski lifts!
Before I go off at a tangent lets get back to the car..
What we have essentially is a 1.0 Litre, 3 Cylinder Turbocharged Motor with the Modern Bosch MED17 Engine Control Unit (ECU). It is mated to a 5 Speed Gearbox and is Front Wheel driven. After sitting outside Apex for 10-15 Minutes with the Engine at idle I cruised down the Road to Adenau to make sure the Motor, Oil, and Components such as the Catalytic Converter were up to safe operating temperature.
What I was not expecting was the Torque output from such a small car.. I thought 'okay, everything is now warm, let me give it some gas,' and at which point this little Devil FIRED into life and tried to pull me off the road! This thing produces Torque! Around or slightly over 265NM of it at the Front Wheels (Flywheel Power would be slightly higher - probably somewhere in the region of up to 290NM! Not the 320NM posted on my Facebook site when I drove the Car).
It definitely is NOT for inexperienced drivers - which is why Apex recommend taking a Coach for the first 1-2 Laps and is actually the best advice for anybody visiting the Nürburgring with their own vehicle or Renting for the first time.
Driving around the local area gave me a better 'playground' because I know these Roads well - having visited for the first time in June 2016, coming back more times than I can remember, and by October 2016 I was moving furniture into my Apartment in Nürburg Village. It is always a pleasure comparing different vehicles and if there is one thing I found really interesting, is that this car doesn't EVER run out of grip!
This thing sticks to the roads, and at just 1.5 Degrees external temperature it should have let go at least a couple of times - but no! The Car grips and grips to the point where I was too scared to see where it would slip!
This is a purpose built mini Race Car and I love it! We need to get to the main pointers (as covered in all of my Reviews), so lets get cracking!
Light and nimble. This car has a 'square' stance setup making it perfect for all applications, including the weekly shopping run! I think I may even be able to fit my Pushbike in the back, there is so much space around the cage and in the rear tyre well.
Whilst driving it feels soooo planted. I can't wait until next Season so I can drive 1-2 Laps around the Nordschleife and see how it compares to some other vehicles that I have tested since moving here. It just doesn't run out of grip, which is down to the combination of upgraded suspension and tyre choice. It sits very comfortably on Nankang AR-1 Semi Slick Road Legal Race Tyres which at sub 5 Degrees performed superbly!
I like the look of the car. But I also like the look of Smart Cars so maybe I am alone with my thoughts. It may not have the sleek lines of a Porsche 911 but you can buy a Porsche 911 if you prefer them. It is always down to personal choice when buying a Car especially when considering aesthetics.
As a 'Car', I like the complete look of it. Not everybody will agree - but again I chose this particular vehicle for Review based on its appearance!
Completely ridiculous and insane! I am typing this while laughing because it is a little monster. Full throttle gives a nice torque pull from just under 3000RPM, and from 3000RPM up to around 5500RPM where I changed gear the torque delivery is STRONG and CONSISTENT. Just how I like it.
I was really impressed with the power delivery in this car, and at Part/Mid Throttle request it will drive the same as a standard model. This car can be driven on the Road, Track, and for normal daily use and you will never feel any strange Boost Surge/Judder if you blip the Throttle, or accidentally go up to Mid Throttle position during cruising.
For a very small 1.0 Litre Motor this is just crazy! Massive thumbs up!
The Car is fitted with a modified exhaust, and when I tested Full Throttle it wasn't too loud or offensive. #RingKathi (Apex Taxi Coordinator) explained that when the Up! passes at Full Throttle it does sound quite nice for what it is. Please remember this is a 3 Cylinder Car with extensive modifications - but it isn't a Ferrari so we cannot expect the greatest sound from the exhaust.
At no point did it sound horrible so its a win win for me. It handles incredibly well, I wouldn't be embarrassed to own and drive one, it pulls like f@#k and doesn't sound too bad from the cockpit either!
To end, this was a really fun car to drive and as much as I rave about the Clio RS being one of my favourite all-round Daily/#RingTools this feels a million times better. It is better built in my opinion, handles superbly and it has more Torque than a Clio RS - which in case you haven't realised I am a fan of TORQUE! Especially from these modern smaller Motors!
Achieving the highest Horsepower is of no interest to me when Remapping my personal Car and also customer Cars in the UK via the ON-CARS network. Torque is what pulls me down the road; and this has a surprisingly decent amount! Given the choice I will always favour a nice Torque curve over maximum Horsepower - something I always stress when speaking to people about Engines. The Apex Up! has already been tuned and I would say it is perfect for Daily and Nordschleife use - covering around 17,000 Kilometers and not one problem with the Motor.
I have to thank Robert Mitchell at Apex for letting me drive one of his Cars. I don't know too much about Robert of his other businesses, but after watching a couple of his Nordschleife Lap Videos I could see he was a very fast Nordschleife driver. After seeing these I had to message and compliment his driving style - which led to some great passenger Laps with him in one of the McLarens!
Since moving to the Nürburgring I have had a great time, nearly every day! Germany is a beautiful Country, and anybody who follows my Facebook posts (link at the top right hand of this page) will see that I am always posting information about the local area, circuit info, and also great Hotel and Restaurants near to the Nürburgring. If you enjoyed this write up there are more under the Reviews tab!
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS