ADD summary: Volkswagen showed a concept of the Golf Cabriolet GTI a year ago at Geneva and now presents the production version. With virtually identical specs and trim as the current Golf 6 GTI, the top down version should be a lot of fun to drive. We’re still missing the roll hoop of the old cabrio as that seemed to add some balance to the stubby look of the Golf Cabriolet. So far no plans to offer this model here in the States, but we’ll keep you posted. Full Volkswagen AG press follows below…
Wolfsburg / Geneva, March 2012. Volkswagen presented the new Golf Cabriolet at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show. Now, at the same venue one year later, the sportiest version of the popular model is making its world debut: the first GTI Cabriolet. The GTI’s 2.0-liter TSI® engine crowns the open-top four-seat model with 207 horsepower, making it the most powerful Golf Cabriolet ever. Along with more power, the GTI also brings a sportier exterior and interior and precisely tuned running gear. The first Golf GTI Cabriolets will be delivered just in time for summer.
The Cabriolet exhibits typical visual trademarks of the GTI. These include the signature red-framed honeycomb grille and GTI badge, the front bumper that also has a large honeycomb air intake and the vertically positioned foglights, as well as a new rear diffuser featuring chrome tailpipes. Similar to the GTI Coupe, the Golf GTI Cabriolet features smoked LED rear lights, LED license plate illumination, and side sill extensions.
Standard wheels are 17-inch “Denver” style alloys with five prominent openings, fitted with 225/45 tires. Showing the same styling, but with a machine-polished surface and contrasting black inner surfaces, are optional “Detroit” style 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 tires.
The interior of the new Cabriolet matches that of the classic GTI’s, except for a more raked windshield frame and unique rear bench seat. It has sport front seats upholstered in the timeless “Jacky” tartan fabric; leather-covered seating is available as an option. True to the sporty nature, interior appointments include brushed stainless steel pedals, a unique GTI shift lever, and a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel with a GTI emblem. The steering wheel and the shift and parking brake levers have decorative red seams. The cloth convertible top and A-pillars are lined in black. Also standard is automatic climate control, decorative chrome surrounds for light, window, and mirror controls, and the RCD 210 radio.
Performance and Handling
The Golf GTI Cabriolet accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Customers can either specify a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG® (dual clutch gearbox) transmission, driving the front wheels. The turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine develops a maximum torque of 207 lb-ft at a low 1700 rpm. The torque curve stays flat and constant up to 5300 rpm. The Cabriolet is not only equipped with electronic differential locks (EDS) in its ESP system; the GTI Cabriolet also has the XDS® transverse differential lock as standard. Even under full acceleration out of corners, the XDS® system ensures optimal grip and driving stability.
Top-down fun in 9.5 seconds
The fabric top of the Golf Cabriolet, which was designed for high speeds, was adopted unchanged for the GTI. It is operated electro-hydraulically and takes just 9.5 seconds to open (and 11 seconds to close). The top may also be operated while driving at speeds of up to 19 mph. When the top is up, this Volkswagen is one of the quietest convertibles available.
The Golf GTI Cabriolet also exhibits impressive safety attributes. Standard roll-over protection that automatically deploys is added to front and side head/thorax airbags and a knee airbag on the driver’s side.
Last but not least, the Golf GTI Cabriolet offers the most spacious interior in its class and the trunk has 8.8 cubic feet of usable space, even when the top is down. All of this makes the Golf GTI Cabriolet ideal for a summer vacation over challenging roads.