Volkswagen’s up! minicar will be switched from a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to a front-engine, front-wheel-drive arrangement when it goes on sale in 2011. According to VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, “Our engineers favored a rear engine and fought until the end for that solution.” Unfortunately, the rear-engine layout had to be nixed due to cost constraints and the limitations it imposed on passenger space.
Volkswagen originally planned to launch the up! in Europe sometime in 2010, but the architecture switch has bumped back its sale date by four- to five-months, meaning it will likely hit showrooms in early 2011.