Road Test: Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet
Sector: Convertible Price: £29,310 Fuel: 37.2mpg CO2: 177g/km
The Mk7 Golf is already in the UK, so launching a GTI Cabriolet based on the outgoing model may seem a little late in the day. But it’s indication that this new version maybe around for a few years yet.
Volkswagen hinted that it was working on a GTI Cabriolet at last year’s Worthersee Tour in Austria, the largest meeting of enthusiasts in Europe and the place where many of the group’s new sports models break cover. It hasn’t changed much, either, suggesting the “concept” was a little more than an idea being banded around in a Wolfsburg design studio.
Each generation of Golf has a strong link to its predecessor, and drivers familiar with previous Cabriolets will notice a few traits showing up in this new one. The letterbox-shaped boot opening is still there, and with the Mk7 Golf so close in shape to the Mk6 it’s likely that this car will be facelifted to match the hatchback at some point just as the two previous Golf Cabriolets have done.
The driving experience is almost the same as the hatchback. It’s a little slower to 62mph, but not noticeably so on the road, mid-30s to the gallon is easily achievable and removing the roof hasn’t blunted its cornering ability.
Plus it’s nearly as easy to live with. Boot access is tiny but there’s lots of room inside, two adults can sit in the back and wind noise over the fabric roof isn’t significantly louder than the tin top.
When the UK gets a glimmer of sunlight, the roof drops quickly behind the rear bench and a net wind-breaker keeps the cabin warm. This also has the desirable side-effect of letting the engine’s mechanical growl and popping exhaust noise into the cabin, adding to the experience. Drop the windows too, and for a common model the Golf looks very upmarket on its large, polished alloy wheels.
Despite the new model, the outgoing cabin hasn’t dated much in its time on sale. Volkswagen tends not to be outlandish with its styling, and it pays dividends as the car ages. Even sold alongside the Mk7, this shouldn’t look dated by the time it gets refreshed.
So while it’s based on a car which has just reached the end of its lifespan, it’s worth getting used to the new Golf Cabriolet. This is a car that’s likely to be with us for a few more years.
Like the GTI hatchback, the Cabriolet doesn’t push the boundaries in terms of design. And that’s a good thing, because style-based purchases such as this tend to depreciate rapidly as the looks go out of date. This takes most of its sibling’s good points, and opens the roof to let you enjoy the experience al fresco.