From £25,362
The Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet is an entertaining four-seat cabrio which betters most of its rivals. But it lacks the finesse of the hardtop

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2009-2012
VW’s iconic hot hatch is back in Mk6 form, more refined than ever

The Volkswagen Golf GTI costs more than an equivalent Scirocco. Is it worth it?

  • First Drive

    Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet

    The Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet is an entertaining four-seat cabrio which betters most of its rivals. But it lacks the finesse of the hardtop
  • First Drive

    Volkswagen Golf GTI

    Small changes make a big difference to VW's latest hot hatch

What is it?

The Golf GTI Cabriolet might sound familiar to British buyers, but the drop-top version of the Mk6 represents the first time GTI and Cabriolet have come together globally. GTI versions of the Mk1 Golf Cabriolet were only destined for the UK market.

The current Golf Cabriolet represents a good starting point for the GTI. It offers impressive torsional rigidity, but any failings in this regard would fall under close scrutiny with the 208bhp, 2.0-litre TFSI engine.

What's it like?

In the main, the GTI Cabriolet performs well. Scuttle shake is evident over high-frequency abrasions. With the roof-up, the frame tightens a little more. Ride is better than anticipated. There is a tendency, as with the standard Cabriolet, to crash over bumps but the primary ride is acceptable. Secondary vibrations can be felt through the standard-fit 18-inch alloys.

The steering is carried over from the hatchback, so is well calibrated, although it could use a touch more feel. Occasional kickback through the wheel is evident too. Adaptive Chassis Control, available on the GTI hatchback, isn’t offered on the Cabriolet, even as an option. The standard-fit XDS differential provides decent grip levels, and the Cabriolet corners flatly at speed.

Power delivery is smooth, and it feels as quick as its 7.3sec 0-62mph time suggests. The standard-fit six-speed manual box lacks precision, but the ratios are perfectly matched. It carries the same sound generator as the hatchback, and with the roof-down the noise is pleasing but not overbearing.

The GTI Cabriolet is sleeker than the hatchback thanks to a more steeply raked windscreen. All the usual GTI styling paraphernalia is supplied too, including comfortable bolstered seats trimmed in the GTI’s iconic tartan upholstery.

Should I buy one?

Volkswagen has done an excellent job of turning the Golf Cabriolet into a very fast four-seat convertible. But with a price tag £3600 more than the hatchback, it is also an expensive one.

There is an undeniable appeal offered by the GTI Cabriolet, but those chasing the many and varied skills the GTI badge is known for would be better served by the hatchback.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet

Price: £29,310; 0-62mph: 7.3sec; Top speed: 147mph; Economy: 37.2mpg; CO2: 177g/km; Kerb weight: 1533kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyl, turbocharged, petrol, 1984cc; Power: 208bhp at 5300-6200rpm; Torque: 206lb ft at 1700-5300rpm; Gearbox: 6sp manual

Join the debate

Comments
18

18 May 2012

VW have produced a desirable product with this car but they know it and have priced it accordingly.

Personally I would take this over the EOS any day but I would have to think long and hard if I could justify the price, even if the residuals are bound to be rock solid.  There are plenty of other desirable drop top cars out there, both new and nearly new that could be bought for the same money.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

R32

18 May 2012

Much as I am a huge Golf fan, I really can't take to the idea of a GTI Convertible.  I like the Golf Convertible as it is and I love the GTI hatchback (Edition 35 in particular) but for me this model just doesn't work.  I don't really think it is a man's car as such, appearing a bit too girlie (even as a GTI).  I really hope they won't do a Golf R Convertible.

It's also very late in the day for VW to be launching a new model considering the Golf MkVII is just around the corner.  If Car magazine are to be believed VW are planning a Golf RS as a new flagship model with the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine from the TT RS.  Much more my kind of Golf.

Myk

18 May 2012

I do really like the look of this, but boy that's a price tag.  And that's before speccing it up.

18 May 2012

If you really must have a convertible it would probably do nicely, but if I was investing that kind of money on a new VW I think I would be tempted by the Golf/Scirocco R for the same money.

 

18 May 2012

That's just way too expensive. The hatchback is overpriced in GTI guise, but this is just crazy!

18 May 2012

Is "sound generator" just elegant variation for engine/exhaust?

18 May 2012

i think i'd rather have a 18 month old 335i cabrio...30k is a lot of cash!

18 May 2012

il sole wrote:

i think i'd rather have a 18 month old 335i cabrio...30k is a lot of cash!

With you all the way.

Back to FWD Sad

18 May 2012

I do prefer convertibles to have a soft top, and so this is probably the pick of the family car/convertibles, but i dont think the Golf shape really suits having its roof cut off, it looks wrong both up and down.

18 May 2012

I really like the looks of this new convertible, but I too wonder whether they should have bothered with a GTi version, maybe a  GLi would have been more appropriate for a soft top (as in previous models).

It has been mentioned that the Golf VII is just around the corner. Previously VW have spanned a couple of generations with the Cabriolet, but with the much vaunted new chassis architecture coming along I wonder if they'll hang onto this model for as long.

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