Volkswagen already has the Eos and Beetle cabrio. So do we need another VeeWee drop top? The answer is YES.
An idol returns in the form of the soft-top Golf WORLDdomination by 2018 has its price, in this case a long absence of having a core model on the shelves. But Volkswagen is unrepentant. We’ve been busy,’’ says a Volkswagen rep with a shrug of his shoulders.
It has been almost 10 years since the last model and when the new Golf Cabriolet arrives in Australia late this year, it will be only the fourth model made since 1979.
And there has even been a lot of hand-wringing over what the new topless Golf should be and where it should go.
The US, for example, won’t get it becauseVWreckons it has sated consumer demand there with the Eos and Beetle Convertible. This is all good news for Australia. This is a pearler of a car, roof up or down. It does everything the Golf— the world’s most popular car, incidentally— does but adds versatility, economy, quality, a whopping look-at-me factor and for the first time in the car’s long life, a relief from rather bland styling.
Does the world need another Volkswagen convertible and will it get your hair dry quicker than the Eos or ragtop Beetle? Only a trip to St Tropez, playground of the rich and gauche, can answer that.
Hard to say what this is going to cost in Australia because Volkswagen has yet to confirm specs and engines. But it goes on sale in Germany next month at an $8000 premium over the five-door Golf so, with the possible 1.2-litre entry-level engine, it could get here for $29,990. Well, we wish.
Compared with the Eos at $46,990, that’s a great price and a great package.
But it’s a little engine and perhaps there will be more interest in the 1.4-or 2.0-litre powerplants that better suit the DSG auto transmission and add a bit more oomph. There is a pair of turbocharged diesels (1.6 and 2.0), but we’ll get only the bigger version. So if you add $8000 down the line, the top end is about $43,000.
It comes in one trim level and you add the options. Not that you’d need a lot. Standard gear is impressive and should be more than sufficient to lure the trendies and buyers who simply adore convertibles.
The car is built by Karmann— as were previous topless Golfs — in northern Germany. Karmann has a long history and a lot of experience so it’s no wonder Volkswagen recently bought it.
The car looks considerably shorter than the Golf hatch, despite sharing the platform and drivetrain. Because of that, it is certainly neat and appealing. Notably, it shares no body panels with the hatch.
The roof is a clever design that incorporates lots of hidden slivers of metal to keep it taut and flush against the body and glass. It looks pretty up but even better down. Its predecessors looked like partially folded prams. The new one closes flush behind the rear seats. And seat room is very good. I am1.77m but had sufficient leg and headroom.
Chassis strengthening is a vital step to sharing the hatch’s handling, ride and noise suppression characteristics. The underbody is reinforced, mainly with alloy components to cut weight, and new multilink rear suspension added.
The engines are shared with other current Volkswagen models but there are now two BlueMotion versions that include stop-start, regenerative braking and low-drag tyres to bring fuel consumption down to 4.4L/100km and emissions to 117g/km CO for the 1.6-litre
2 diesel. Australia soon gets a BlueMotion Golf so it is plausible an eco-friendly Cabrio may follow. Rollbar function is taken up by two bars that automatically deploy when the car tilts to a predetermined angle. That leaves an opening from the boot to carry long items.
It should replicate Golf’s fivestar crash rating. Standard kit includes seven airbags, the rollbars, electronic stability control and a host of anti-slip wizardry. It’s also nimble and stable enough to hopefully avoid a prang in the first place.
If I say it drives like a Golf, that should be sufficient. And it does. It is lithe and predictable, as solid and confident on the bitumen as any quality big car, and is one of the rare vehicles that melds with the driver.
I drove all but the 1.6-litre diesel and BlueMotion versions, starting with the compliant and eager 2.0-litre turbopetrol, to the supercharged and turbocharged 1.4 (TSI with red lettering, not to be confused with TSI nonsupercharged with black lettering), 2.0-litre turbodiesel and 1.2-litre turbo-petrol with six-speed manual box.
The 2.0 petrol is fuss-free and has torque in bulk— perfectly suiting the DSG auto. It is also smooth and very quiet, a welcome trait, incidentally, of all the Cabrios. The engine will see a lot of duty in Australia.
The 1.4 TSI has been seen before here, badged as the GT and then TSI. It is a great engine andVWhas overcome initial mechanical problems so it’s now reliable. More than that, it’s a buzz to drive.
It works by using a supercharger to boost the little engine for rapid acceleration. It cuts out at 3500rpm and the turbocharger takes over.
This is the only 1.4 TSI in which you can hear the transfer from one booster to the next.
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