2011 Frankfurt Motor Show: Volkswagen Study Up! Azzurra Sailing Team

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 13, 2011

The up! azzurra sailing team -- a prototype of a small, open and green vehicle for the world’s marinas -- was created by Italian designers Walter de Silva and Giorgetto Giugiaro, who both grew up in nautical environments. Walter de Silva was born in Lecco on Lake Como while Giorgetto Giugiaro was born in Garessio, which is a town near the Ligurian coast.

The two designers have extended the potential range of the New Small Family here to include a nautical version.

The name of the prototype comes from a yacht club on the Costa Smeralda. The up! azzurra sailing team keeps the original character of the up! with its appealing and precise lines, but the concept vehicle doesn’t have a roof or doors, allowing the passengers and driver to enjoy the breeze of summer, as if they were on a boat.

Highly stylish and advanced materials are utilized in the vehicle, all of which are completely waterproof. Moreover, they intentionally symbolize the fittings of a premier yacht.

These features include a dashboard in mahogany with maple wood inlays, the four seats in white-blue leather, and numerous chrome components.

A synthetic resin coats its surfaces. Furthermore, the up! azzurra sailing team is more than just a prototype, as it forms a link between the legacies of German vehicles and Italian yachts to create an up! that’s obviously Mediterranean.

Volkswagen has again demonstrated its ability to maximise a compact car design with their new up! Measuring 3.54 m long, 1.64 m wide (excluding wing mirrors) and only 1.48 m high, the up! is truly among the smallest four-seaters available. With its relatively long 2.42-m wheelbase and extremely short overhangs, its design exemplifies how far compact dimensions can be used.

up! frontal end

When viewed from its front, the Volkswagen up! projects a smiling face, thanks to its bumper shape. In fact, this was done intentionally. A thin black band connects the central chrome Volkswagen logo to each headlamp which has integrated daytime running lights. The up! doesn’t require the usual air cooling intakes because its electric and petrol/natural gas engines have small sizes. Compared to other Volkswagens, the headlamps are noticeably tinier but retain a striking appearance.

Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen Brand, says that the design of the up!’s front end is consistent with their other cars, including the Phaeton. The common style elements are all evident: the horizontally oriented lines; the connection of the grille and headlamps; and the pronounced short angles. Despite these commonalities, each Volkswagen displays proportional uniqueness with each component, thereby creating distinct vehicle designs within each model range “from the congenial up! to the sophisticated Phaeton."

up! side view

From either side, the up! shows notable flared contours and a mix of convex and concave outlines. Above the side sill, a subtle grooved concavity accentuates the continuity of the car’s surface. No edges or seams are visible, save for the windows and powerful wheel housings where the relatively small 14 to 16 inch wheels seem magnified by their large lateral so-called ‘wheel mirrors’.

The shape of the windows provides a unique look for the Volkswagen up! The front windows have an angled front lower end that visually connects it to the bonnet. At the rear part of the car, a line slopes up congruently with rear wheel and C pillar. This relationship makes the rear wheel seem like a visual foundation for the C pillar and it contributes to the car’s crisp overall proportions.

Above the short and inclined bonnet, another line streaks rearward over the windshield and roof. Effectively, this unifies the up!’s silhouette first with the side windows, then towards the rear with the steep upright curve to the rear fender. These are unique lines that set the Volkswagen up! apart from the rest.

Press Release

up! azzurra sailing team – the up! with a Mediterranean soul

The up! azzurra sailing team was created by Italian designers Giorgetto Giugiaro and Walter de Silva. Giugiaro and de Silva both grew up in nautical environments. And it was in this environment that the up! azzurra sailing team was created – a prototype of an open, small, eco-friendly automobile for the world's marinas. Giorgetto Giugiaro, born in Garessio – a town near the Ligurian coast where the sea breezes blow strong – and Walter de Silva – born in Lecco on Lake Como – have extended the potential range of the New Small Family here to include a nautical version. The prototype's name comes from a yacht club on the Costa Smeralda.

The up! azzurra sailing team retains the original character of the up! with its precise and appealing lines. Yet the concept vehicle is completely open – there are no doors or roof. This lets the driver and passengers enjoy the summer breezes, as if they were aboard a boat.

High-tech and highly stylish materials are used inside the vehicle, all of which are completely waterproof, and they intentionally resemble the fittings of a luxury yacht. These features include the four seats in white-blue leather, numerous chrome components and a dashboard in mahogany with maple wood inlays. Its surfaces are coated in a synthetic resin.

The up! azzurra sailing team is more than just a prototype – it forges a link between the heritages of Italian yachts and German automobiles. And that is how an up! was created with a Mediterranean soul!

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