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 is 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