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Volkswagen Up Ultimate Mods & Upgrades

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Table of Contents


If you’ve arrived here, it’s likely because you’ve got a Volkswagen Up and you want to make it a bit more snazzy. Perhaps you want to make your base-spec Up look more like the GTi variant. Or perhaps you want to extract some extra performance from  your Up to make it a bit more fun and nippy on the backroads. Regardless, we will touch on the ultimate mods that will make the biggest difference.

We’ll cover interior modifications that you can do yourself, exterior mods to make your Up a proper head turner. Oh, and we’ll also show you some performance mods that will really take your love for your car to the next level. We cover a variety of mods across different budgets so there should be something in this list for every owner

Rear Brake Disc Conversion

This is a fantastic mods for Up enthusiasts who are passionate about their car and it’s performance. The rear brake disc conversion kit converts the standard drum brakes in the rear to disc brakes, increasing stopping performance and improving the aesthetics of your Up. While the standard brakes are adequate for most Up’s, a modified and tuned Up running more power can benefit from this during hard driving. 

The kit can be purchased here and comes with everything you need to complete the conversion including handbrake cables and all the nuts/bolts. You also have the option of choosing between silver or red brake callipers! 

This kit works on all versions of the VW Up so this is one all you Up enthusiasts can benefit from.

Wheel Upgrades

The Volkswagen Up comes from the factory with different sized wheels depending on what year and particular model you have. These range between 14 inch for the base spec models and up to 17 inch for the Up GTi. As such, you have a few different choices for aftermarket wheels. 

You may be wanting to opt for aftermarket wheels to upsize your alloys and reduce the arch gap, or maybe to go with a bold black set of wheels to contrast the body of your Up. Regardless, there are a variety of options.

The first step is to ensure whatever wheels you are going for are going to fit alright. There are a few factors you need to take into consideration here including the offset, size of the wheel and bolt pattern (PCD). Refer to your car’s handbook or a reputable website like if you are unsure about your current wheel specifications. If you do see a particular pair of wheels that you like that don’t quite match up exactly with the OEM fitment, there is still a chance you can fit them. Adapter kits are available for different wheels allowing you to mount a variety of wheels that don’t match the OEM sizing. Just be aware of any potential clearance issues that may arise from using adapters/aftermarket wheels out with OEM spec.

Have a think about the styling of the rest of your Up when adding a set of aftermarket wheels. If you have some black accents on the exterior like wing mirror caps for example or black stripes, then black wheels could be a nice addition. Thinking of painting your brake calipers? Consider wheels that have enough gaps between the spokes to draw attention to your shiny new calipers. With many considerations to make, have a good think before committing to purchasing a new set.

Exhaust Upgrades

If you are looking to extract a bit more sound from your Up or even some extra performance, then you may want to look into a more free-flowing aftermarket exhaust system. As with the other mods mentioned in this article, the exhaust systems available will vary depending on your model of Up. Your exhaust options will be different on the Up GTi compared to the base spec non turbo models. 

On turbo engines, you want as little back pressure as possible so this is true for the GTi variant. A free flowing downpipe and sports cat coupled into a free flowing cat-back section will provide the best performance gains when it comes to your exhaust as well as producing a meatier sound from the tailpipes.

On the non turbo versions of the Up, an exhaust that is too free flowing can actually cost you performance, so you want to keep the same diameter of piping if possible. If sound is your main focus, then this might not be that much of an issue for you. An exhaust fabrication shop should be able to fabricate one to fit nicely if there is no pre-made aftermarket exhaust system available. 

Aftermarket Air Intake/Filter

Adding an aftermarket performance intake to your Up can provide performance benefits as well as a nicer sound. 

First, let’s talk about the sound. While the VW Up with it’s 3 cylinder engine is never going to sound like a high performance car, an aftermarket intake can definitely improve the standard sound.

By allowing more air to flow into the engine unrestricted with less muffling, the intake creates a more aggressive and throaty sound. This can be especially noticeable during acceleration or at higher RPMs.

But the benefits of an aftermarket air intake go beyond just sound. By allowing more air to flow into the engine, an aftermarket intake can improve engine performance. The factory air intake system is designed to meet a variety of requirements, including noise reduction and fuel efficiency. However, these requirements can sometimes come at the expense of performance. An aftermarket air intake, on the other hand, is designed specifically to improve airflow and increase horsepower.

While these gains will be marginal, they will be more noticeable on the Up GTi which utilises a turbo and as such benefits from a free-flowing intake system.

Coilovers/Lowering Springs

Lowering your Up is a great way to transform the aesthetics of it and make it look sportier as well as improve the handling.

The standard right height of your Up will depend on what version you have. For example, some models like the GTi come with a lower suspension from factory. 

The most cost effective option is a set of lowering springs which will reduce the arch gap and give you a nicer stance on your car. Eibach Pro kit springs may be fitted with standard shocks, although it’s advisable to invest in a brand new pair of uprated shocks to cope with any additional stress. 

Other manufacturers that make lowering springs for the Up include H&R and KW.

You also have the option of coilovers which are a more expensive setup but often provide greater performance gains and allow you to drop lower than a set of lowering springs allow. Depending on the wheel size setup you have, some sets may give a rougher ride which might not suit those who use their Up for daily driving in areas with poor roads. Stick with reputable manufacturers and you should be okay. 

AP, Stance+, Bilstein and Eibach among others produce coilovers for the Up so be sure to check out the different options available. 

A good rule of thumb to remember when lowering your Up and any car in general is not to cheap out on parts and buy the cheapest set of lowering springs you can find. Poorly designed lowering springs/coilovers can cause excessive premature wear on other suspension components and cause you more headaches and money down the line. Stick with reputable manufacturers and you should be okay. 


It would be silly to talk about performance mods without mentioning a remap. Remaps are one of the best bang for buck performance mods you can do. The increase in power is going to be more noticeable on the VW Up GTi which has a turbo, and as such has better tuning potential out the box.

The ECU’s on the VW Up are protected so they will need to be tuned on the bench. Your best bet is to ask around any owner groups or Facebook groups you are in to get recommendations for tuners near you that have tuned other Up’s.

Tuning gains from a remap alone are actually quite impressive on these cars provided the car is in healthy shape. The power increase will vary depending on what model you have. 

  • For the 60bhp version of the Up, you can expect a power increase to just over 80bhp which is impressive gains for a naturally aspirated engine!
  • For the TSI variant (88bhp) you can expect up to 115bhp from a remap which will make a lovely difference.
  • And for the GTi variant, you can expect power gains to 140bhp or just over from the standard 115bhp engine. 

If you want to get the maximum bang for your buck, try ensure any physical  mods like an exhaust or induction kit are fitted prior to remapping for the most optimal power gains. A good tuner should be able to write a custom map to accommodate the additional hardware.

Aero Mods

Aero mods are a type of modification that can be made to improve the aerodynamic performance of your Up. Not only this, but some nice aero mods can totally transform the exterior of your car, making it look stylish, aggressive and a lot more sporty. To be honest, most people install aero mods for aesthetic reasons, as the majority of drivers don’t drive their Up hard enough to get a noticeable performance benefit.

Regardless of your reasoning, aero mods are a fantastic addition to your car and can make it a real head turner. You have a few different options when it comes to the Up. These include:

  • Front Splitter
  • Rear Diffuser
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Sideskirts

Lets work our way from the front to the back of the car talking about the aero options you have available.

Starting at the front we have the front splitter. A front splitter is a common aftermarket addition that is mounted to the front of the car, just below the front bumper. A front splitter helps to improve the aerodynamics of a car by redirecting airflow to increase downforce and improve traction. From a cosmetic point of view, it adds a sporty look that is synonymous with high-performance vehicles, and can make an otherwise ordinary car look more aggressive and powerful.

Front splitters come in different styles and designs. Carbon fibre splitters, for example, can give your Up a more high-end look, while a more aggressive splitter design can give a car a more race-inspired appearance.

On the side, you have the option of adding aftermarket sideskirts. These can provide marginal aero benefits but the main reason people opt for them is for the styling benefits. These are a subtle exterior mod that can totally transform the side profile of your Up, adding a new aggressive dimension.

On the back you have the option of adding an aftermarket rear diffuser and roof spoiler.

On the back you have the option of adding an aftermarket rear diffuser and roof spoiler.

A rear diffuser is designed to improve the airflow underneath the rear of your car, reducing lift and improving downforce. The result is a car that feels more planted and responsive, especially at higher speeds.

As with many aero mods, it a rear diffuser isn’t all about performance. It can also add a sleek and aggressive aesthetic to the back of your Up. The unique sporty design of an aftermarket rear diffuser can make your car stand out from the crowd and give it a more custom look.

The last aero mod we’ll talk about is the rear roof spoiler. While the Up comes with a very small roof spoiler from factory, enthusiast owners may wish to opt for an aftermarket option that adds a lot more flair to the rear.

As with the other aero mods, a rear roof spoiler creates additional downforce helping keep the rear of the car planted through corners and a higher speeds. Performance benefits will be minimal with the type of aftermarket spoiler options available so the main benefits are the styling/cosmetic ones. A spoiler can add an aggressive depth to the back of your car, giving it a sporty look.

Double Din Conversion

For those of you who don’t know, a double din head unit is one that is twice the size of your usual single din head unit (hence the name!).The VW Up comes out the factory as standard with a single din head unit, and some owners opt to upgrade to a larger double din setup.

A larger setup is a visually appealing modification that can make the interior look much fancier and higher end. It also comes with the additional functionality of a larger screen which is easier to use and access, as well as additional features like sat-nav/USB ports and other features depending on the head unit you opt for.

A double din conversion can also add value to your Up. If you’re planning to sell your car in the future, having a nice double din setup can make it more appealing to potential buyers.

It’s worth bearing in mind that modification of the dashboard is required for fitting correctly so if you aren’t DIY savvy, you may want to ring up some local car audio stores/specialists to get a quote for installation.

Interior Mods

While exterior and performance mods can certainly enhance your Up’s appearance and capabilities, interior mods can provide a more immediate and practical benefit. The interior is where you spend most your time after all!

Upgrading the exterior or performance of the Up can be more expensive and require professional installation of parts depending on how handy you are with the tools. On the other hand, interior mods can be relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making them a great first mod for those on a budget.

For some subtle mods you can do yourself on the cheap, you could look at wrapping some interior trim elements. This could be to match the colour scheme of your interior or add some extra contrast in certain areas. One of the most popular style of wraps is carbon fibre which adds a real touch of elegance to your interior.

If you are looking at mods that can  enhance your driving experience, then you may want to consider upgrading your seats to an aftermarket set of bucket seats. These are a game-changing mod for those of you who like to throw your Up about. Bucket seats can provide some rigidity to your seating position when taking corners, meaning you aren’t having to readjust your position mid-corner or hold onto the wheel for dear life. There are different manufacturers like Cobra who offer bucket seats for the VW Up along with the brackets and side mounts you need for proper fitment.

Some other subtle interior mods that can make a lovely difference include:

  • LED footwell lighting
  • A3 air vents (some trimming/sanding required)
  • arm rest
  • steering wheel stitching
  • aftermarket pedals/covers
If you’re looking for some more inspiration and ideas on interior mods, check out our Best Interior Mods Guide for the VW Up.

Finishing Thoughts

With the right mods, your little city car can become a real head-turner and a joy to drive.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade the exterior appearance, the interior comfort, or the performance capabilities, there are plenty of options on the market to help you achieve your goals.

Happy modding!