Volkswagen will launch the new VW Lupo in October.
The two-door, four-seat car will compete in the mini class against the new breed of city cars like the Renault Twingo and Ford Ka.
A racing version of the car was introduced to the public a week ago at the first of a dozen one-class races. The stripped version of the car was shown last week at the Turin auto show. It has the Lupo's distinctive nose and parts of the production interior.
The Lupo shares a platform with the Seat Arosa; their length is 3540mm. Lupo is Italian for Wolf, which relates to VW's hometown of Wolfsburg, Germany. The Lupo will first come on the market with gasoline engines making 50hp and 75hp, and a diesel making 60hp.
Volkswagen has not announced pricing. A VW source said a base model will sell in Germany for about DM18,000 ($9,800).
In 1999, a 100hp version and a GTI version will join the range, followed by a super-efficient, three-liter car. That derivative will have a 1.2-liter, 60hp turbodiesel that consumes no more than three liters per 100km.
The three-liter Lupo can be expected in spring 1999, said VW sources.
Ferdinand Piech, VW's chairman, believes that it is possible to build a one-liter car, and he wants to produce one by 2002, when his contract finishes. He said it will have all the features of a regular car 'but not necessarily four seats.'
The first Lupo Cup race was 18 April at Hockenheim, Germany. The Lupo GTi racer's 1.4-liter engine achieves a top speed of 200kph.