Turbo VR5 Swapped VW Up Eats Mustangs and M3s for Lunch at the Drag Strip

VW Up VR5 6 photos
Photo: VeeDubRacing
The Volkswagen up! is one of those cheap hatchbacks VW is convinced would never sell well in North America. That's why they've blanket refused to sell them there since production began back in 2011.
It's all the sadder because the modding community across the pond in Europe has spent this time making the Up faster than any two-door city car has any right to be. Want proof positive of this in action? Look no further than Charlie Robert's turbo VR5 swapped VW up! By all accounts, the fastest of its kind in all of Europe. By extension, likely the fastest one on the planet as well.

With a choice of anemic but peppy three-cylinder petrol or CNG engines or an electric version to choose from, there's typically not much to inspire when it comes to what's under the hood of a normal up!. Even the sporty GTI version was one of the slowest modern cars ever to lap the Grand Tour's Eboladrome. How could one fix this problem? Well, not easily, that's for sure.

But it starts with taking whichever variant of the three-cylinder engine that was under the hood of this VW up! and replacing it with a 2.3-liter Volkswagen VR5 engine that's so far from stock that most VW techs would shut the hood and demand you get out of his shop if you were to ever take it in for a service. Because life is boring without forced induction, a Garrett GT3582 turbocharger complete with water to air intercooler is mounted on the left-hand side of the engine bay.

While running 0.4 bar (5.8 psi), Roberts was able to squeeze 278 horsepower (282 PS) out of this tiny little city car. That works out to a quarter-mile run of 11.647 seconds at 121.55 miles per hour (200.4 kph), or roughly the same as a bone stock late model Mustang GT 5.0, with an even higher trap speed. Not bad for a little pipsqueak.

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