What is it?
The Volkswagen Golf R cabriolet is the fastest and most powerful drop-top Golf ever. At £38,770 – some £1181 more than the entry-level Porsche Boxster – it is clearly the most expensive, too.
Following on from the launch of the Golf GTi cabriolet last year, Volkswagen has upped the open-top ante even further with the introduction of the Golf R cabriolet.
As its styling suggests, the go-fast soft-top is based around the previous sixth-generation Golf, not the latest seventh-generation model. That’s because the third-generation cabriolet, with its traditional fabric hood and four-seat layout, was only launched in 2011, so it is essentially a two-year-old car even if its appearance suggests otherwise.
Power comes from Volkswagen’s older EA113 engine, not the newer EA888 that both powers the Audi S3 and will also serve the new Golf R later this year.
The transversely mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit runs a maximum 1.2bar of turbo boost pressure and delivers 261bhp and 258lb ft – some 55bhp and 52lb ft more than the Golf GTi cabriolet’s less heavily tuned version of the EA113 engine.
Power is fed through a standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to the front-wheels. The set-up mirrors the Scirocco R, with an electronic differential included to keep wheelspin in check and ensure traction.
The Golf R cabriolet also receives stiffened springs and dampers, while the anti-roll bars have gone up in diameter, the ride height lowered by 25mm and 19in wheels fitted as standard. UK buyers may be able to specify 18in wheels as a no-cost option.
Along with its added performance, the primary appeal of the range-topping Golf cabriolet comes with its excellent fabric hood. Developed in partnership with Karmann, the electro-hydraulically operated structure opens at speeds of up to 18mph in just 9.0sec.
Standard kit includes bi-xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, a multi-function steering wheel, front sport seats, leather upholstery, climate control and parking sensors. Leading the options is an adaptive chassis control system providing variable damping in three distinct modes: Normal, Comfort and Sport.