A Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet is entering the final stages of development, Autocar understands. The fastest drop-top Golf to date will use the current Mk6 Cabriolet as a basis and will go on sale in Spring 2013.

Unlike the Golf R hatchback, the Cabriolet will be front-wheel drive only. No official performance figures have been revealed, but it is likely to feature the 261bhp 2.0-litre TSI unit from the Scirocco R, endowing it with a 0-62mph time of around six seconds and a 155mph top speed.

A six-speed manual gearbox is tipped to be offered alongside a DSG option.

No pricing information has been announced, but the £6000 premium for the Golf R hatchback over the GTI is likely to be cut to around £4500, due to the Cabriolet's cheaper front-drive configuration. That would see the R Cabriolet priced around £34,000.

Volkswagen first teased a production Golf R Cabrio at the Worthersee tuning show in Austria in 2011. The concept featured sports suspension and the car sat 25mm lower than the standard Cabriolet. Modifications expected to appear on the production model include 18in Talladega alloy wheels and ventilated discs with blue callipers.

Familiar Golf R trinkets, including aluminium sill plates, carbonfibre trim, R badging and sports seats will also be fitted.