The German Open

Is there space in Volkswagen’s range for a soft top Golf when the successful Eos convertible that’s based on the same chassis already exists?

Volkswagen certainly thinks so and it’s hard not to warm to the latest in a long line of open top Golf models. Available with a choice of six engines, this is a major product offensive and one that we’ll monitor with quite some interest.

A fact that Volkswagen rather kept under its hat with the last Golf Cabriolet is that it was actually a facelifted Mark 3 rather than an actual Mark 4 which means its underpinnings were that of a 1994 car. Therefore, the step forward to a current Golf Cabriolet is massive and, at first, slightly befuddling. This is genuinely based on the current Mark 6 underpinnings which means multi-link suspension front and rear and body rigidity that’s from another dimension. This comes courtesy of a reinforced window frame and structural modifications to the underbody, side panels, cross-members and doors the rigidity benefits of which are manifested in improved safety, comfort and refinement.

The engine line up numbers no fewer than six, three of which are available right off the bat with a further three arriving in dealers a few months later. The initial choice of a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS, a 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS and a 1.6-litre 105 PS TDI diesel covers the most important bases. Those looking for some rather more exciting engines will need to sit on their wallets until the 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS, 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS and 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 140 PS finally break cover.

Volkswagen attempts to distance the Golf from the Eos by stating that it’s 208mm shorter and while this is true, a closer look at the cars shows that, as expected, both ride on the same wheelbase and it’s the bigger rear end of the Eos (designed to accommodate the folding tin top) that accounts for much of the difference in length. By contrast, the tail end of the Golf is almost shockingly pert, with the result that with the fabric roof stowed, there’s a mere 250 litres of luggage space available. Some recompense comes with the 93 million miles of headroom on offer.

The question that may niggle a little when considering the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is whether the arrow of automotive evolution has temporarily been pointed backwards. We already have the beautiful Eos but Volkswagen has chosen to launch a simpler, lighter, more affordable counterpart. There is an argument to say that simpler, lighter and more affordable isn’t necessarily a retrograde step and Volkswagen clearly believes the market will support that view.

In isolation, the Golf Cabriolet looks extremely good. The styling is sleeker than any soft top Golf to date and the engineering is unimpeachable. If Volkswagen can get the pricing right, it’s hard to see this car falling on its face. Get the pricing wrong, however, and this car could easily become a curious sideshow attraction.

l For more details about this car or any other new or used Volkswagen contact Mansfield Volkswagen on 01623 626272; 206 Chesterfield Road North, Mansfield NG19 7JG .

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