In 1979, Volkswagen launched the Golf Cabriolet MkI. It was an immediate success and the Golf plus soft-top formula remained popular until the late 1990s. The last Cabriolet model, based on the MkIV Golf, was retired in 2002, by which time 684,000 Golf Cabriolets had been sold.
Now, after a nine-year break, the Golf Cabriolet is back.
My first thought on hearing about this new model was that Volkswagen already had a Golf-class convertible – the Eos. However, the Eos is both larger and has a folding hard top – whereas the new Golf Cabriolet is a genuine soft-top with a slightly shorter body.
VW is clearly at pains to differentiate between the two cars and says that the Golf Cabriolet’s front grill and bonnet will make the new model ‘clearly identifiable as a Golf’. I suspect that older buyers will choose the larger, more expensive and more luxurious Eos, while younger buyers will be tempted by the Golf brand and soft-top of the Golf Cabriolet.
The Golf Cabriolet’s roof is a genuine fabric item that will raise or lower itself in 9.5 seconds and speeds of up to 18mph. No roof cover is required when the roof is down, which helps speed up the process and reduce the amount of boot space that’s required for roof storage. The Cabriolet’s boot provides 250 litres of space when the roof is down.
This convertible Golf will initially be available with three engine options – 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS, 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS and a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS. More engine options are to come, and VW’s highly-rated DSG automatic gearbox will also be on offer.
For my money, a car like this needs a petrol engine – it’s like scones and clotted cream vs. bread and butter. Still, I suspect that VW’s (excellent) diesel engines will be nearly as popular on the Golf Cabriolet as they are with on most other models. Pity, though…