At the end of 2005, the world lost one of its finest and most affordable drivers’s cars. The Fox city car is all very well for VW, but when it was introduced back then, it meant the end of the Lupo and consequently no more Lupo GTi. And the Lupo GTi was the first new car I ever really wanted.
I was a year into my degree when the Lupo GTi tore onto the pages of Autocar. Then, on a budget that just about extended to rent, tuition fees, pencils and the occasional medicinal pint of lager, it was the affordable fun-to-drive featherweight I day dreamed about. The group 11 insurance looked affordable, 40 miles to the gallon likewise, and the £13k asking price looked reasonably realistic too. The finance would have been £250 a month after a £3k deposit, and I reckoned I’d be able to afford that once I got a graduate job.
But for all its affordability, this little firecracker also appealed because it was a proper GTi. Yes, it was a Lupo, but a Lupo with sports seats, a leather steering wheel, chrome-rimmed dials and polished steel pedals. It also had the 125bhp 1.6-litre engine from the Polo GTi and weight-saving aluminium panels than contributed to a kerbweight of 960kg – almost 200kg less than the fast Polo. This car could hit 60mph in just 7.7sec and go on to 120mph. And the GTi badge, worn on both bootlid and grille, was a warning to Saxo VTS drivers that they had some serious traffic-light competition to deal with.