• Jul 18th 2008 at 1:03PM
  • 36
Volkswagen is working hard to make the up! a reality, but the technological challenges of a rear engine, RWD car are proving to be more daunting than expected. The VW engineering team is reportedly having trouble conjuring up a low cost rear-engine layout. The problem has been trying to accommodate a radiator in the up!'s nose and transferring coolant through the car. Early up! prototypes are also having a difficult time with cross-wind stability due to the unbalanced heft of its rear drive/rear engine layout. To correct these issues, some styling changes may be necessary, but if the basic shape of the up! is compromised, the German automaker may have to look at front wheel drive as an option. In spite of any problems engineers are having, VW executives are confident any difficulties will be overcome.

We're hoping that means we can still expect the inexpensive hatch to be pushed via the rear wheels just like the original Bug. Then again, the Mini has proved that small cars can be fun and driven by the front wheels, and as long as the up! is cheap, efficient, and adorable, there will be plenty of buyers.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Vanagon had no problem with the rear engine-front coolant layout. Nothing 8 feet of pipe could fix.
      • 7 Years Ago
      REQUEST: Hey Autoblog editors, will you start using a new special tag for posts like this? So I can track this new "Abandon RWD" trend. Up next...

      1 - 2011 Camaro to be FWD only
      2 - Audi announces next gen AWS system stays in FWD only mode by default
      3 - Ford ceases all RWD production
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow. A German Fiat 500 clone.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Emissions regulations would kill air cooling, emissions was the reason Porsche went from air to water cooling.

      If the engine goes forward so too will the drive

      Thats not a problem for me because front engine, front wheel drive cars are more space efficient than a front engine rear wheel drive vehicle (of the same dimension).

      I just want a super cool looking cheap vehicle to roll around Los Angeles, and I need to throw some things in the back.

      Make mine a manual
      • 7 Years Ago
      Could be? Will certainly be. RWD would be odd in that car and layout.
      • 7 Years Ago
      get the guys across the hall that worked on the Veyron. they seem to know how to solve cooling issues.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sure, they'll only have to figure out how to get the up! cruising at 200mph+ for some great air-only cooling!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The up! should be front-drive.

      I want Volkswagen US to offer the new Brazilian Gol.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I know mitsubishi already makes the icar with no problems and the Tata nano is going with a similar format and still being the cheapest car in the world. I am not surprised with VW for considering the switch to FWD. I remember VWs layout being a flat lying engine which is alightly different from the tiltled upright engine used in the smart, icar, and the nano. But after seeiing the magic pakaging in this toyota iq video,

      It all makes perfect sense. Toyota shifted the engine behind the front axle and manage to make the car seem like it the engine was under the rear seat, but you still have the advantage of the full rear luggage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      VW's are Girl Cars Why even care unless ur a Girl.

      It's not that i hate VW it's that i would never drive one cause as i Said there Girl Cars.

      P.s. Im Not... a Fanboy i just pick the best and go with it. The only Automaker i Hate is Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      surely everyone is NOT suprised by this news.
        • 7 Years Ago
        more importantly, who CARES?

        its an econobox. It will not matter one iota the drivetrain configuration if its cheap, gets good mileage, and handles decently.

        sure it will be quirky if it is different but that alone wont make it a game changer
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually I'm somewhat surprised. In the concept the engine was mid-rear mounted, which made it cheap to do RWD. Also, improved front-crash safety being that there wouldn't have been an engine up-front that could be pushed back into the cabin.

        This design that VW planned in the Up! is currently in production by Mitsubishi i (iCar) which is a 2,000lb mid-engined RWD turbo vehicle. It does 45mpg and costs around $11k for the base version and around $14-15k for the top of the line 4WD. Its an amazing city car.

        My thoughts were that VW would do the same on a global level. So the Up! if its FWD will likely be front-engined (unlike the concept) unless they plan on having a drive-shaft coming from the rear to the front (unlikely).
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have to agree with the comments about the Mitsubishi i, Vw has built millions of rear engine,rear drive cars.How can Mitsubishi do it and Vw can't seem to figure it out? Seems pretty lame on Volkswagens part.
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