Volkswagen has moved a step closer to a Golf coupé-cabriolet with the Concept C, unveiled today in Geneva. Officially it is a design study, but in reality it defines the size, shape and look of VW’s answer to Peugeot and Renault’s folding tin-tops.

If it looks familiar, that’s because those muscular haunches and distinctive face were first shown on the Concept R at Frankfurt last autumn. That car was a more extreme roadster, whereas this four-seater car is closer to the 2005 production car.

Gone are the gaping air intakes, prominent bonnet and flank creases, and the mid-mounted 260bhp V6, replaced by a more recognisable Golf grille and front bumper, plus VW’s 150bhp FSI engine between the front wheels.

VW describes the Concept C as ‘semi-series-mature’ and the production car will be launched later in 2005 with a separate, non-Golf, name.

At 4410mm long and 1810mm wide, it’s not only larger than the Concept R, but bigger than either French rival. VW is hoping for class-leading cabin space and boot capacity of more than 400 litres.The concept’s most interesting feature is the unique geometry of the folding roof, which can be seen in more detail in our gallery. Unlike current coupé-cabriolets, which have a hinged C-pillar, VW’s new system slides glass sunroof panels and C-pillar into a sandwich formation before they retract into the boot.

Sharing the Golf-derived platform with the forthcoming Bora replacement should ensure excellent dynamics and ride. Expect a weight of around 1400kg – 200kg over the hatch.

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