It’s been four years since we first saw the original Up! Concept, and now, just a few weeks out from its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, Volkswagen has taken the wraps off the production version of its new minicar destined for sale in Europe early next year.

Over that time the Up! has gone through multiple redesigns, including going from a rear-engine layout to a more conventional front-engine design, and spawning several different bodystyles.

The new Up! will replace the Lupo and may even adopt its name when it finally goes on sale.

Two engines will be offered initially, both of them coming from a new family of three-cylinder units. They’ll develop 59 and 74 horsepower, respectively, and return up to 56 mpg on the European combined cycle.

Further down the track there will be turbodiesel variants, as well as an all-electric model. This latter variant is due in 2013 and could be sold in the U.S.

Otherwise, the Up! is your basic run-of-the-mill minicar, though there are some advanced safety features and seating for four adults, albeit, four small adults.

One of the new safety features is the City Emergency Braking system, which uses a laser sensor to detect oncoming objects and can bring the car to a complete stop automatically if necessary.

There’s also a new Portable Infotainment Device (PID) developed together with Navigon, which includes a satellite navigation system, as well as a hard-disc based entertainment system and full touchscreen capability.

For more details, head over to our sister site GreenCarReports for an extensive report.