New Car: 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTi Cabriolet

VW’s beloved Mk1 Golf Cabriolet combined GTI power and suspension tuning with top-down motoring, and now Volkswagen is at it again—in Europe anyway—as it debuts the Golf GTI Cabriolet. Buzz around such a model started building last year when the company showed its Golf R Cabriolet and GTI Cabriolet concepts to rabid VW addicts at the annual Wörthersee GTI meet in Austria. Although the GTI’s engine has been offered in the Golf Cabriolet for some time, a full GTI-spec version hasn’t previously been available.

The Golf Cabriolet not only gets the 207-hp, turbocharged 2.0 liter direct-injected four from the GTI hatchback, but also its interior and exterior styling tweaks as well. That means the red-accented honeycomb grille and the iconic GTI badge, as well as honeycomb treatment for portions of the lower fascia. The GTI’s familiar 17-inch “Denver” style aluminum wheels shod with 225/45 tires are standard; 18-inch machine-polished “Detroit” rollers with 225/40 tires are optional. Dual chrome exhaust pipes bracket a new diffuser-style piece at the rear, while smoked LED taillights and license-plate illumination follow precedents set by the hardtop GTI.

As with the hatchback, buyers will have their choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. Volkswagen is claiming a 0-to-60-mph time of 7.3 seconds, but neglects to mention which transmission would produce this number. (Figure on it being the DSG with its launch-control function.) We say VW’s acceleration estimate is likely conservative by the better part of a second. The 2.0-liter produces a maximum of 207 lb-ft of torque, staying on task until 5300 rpm. Each GTI Cabriolet is equipped with the electronic XDS brake-based “torque-vectoring” program as standard.

Aside from a windshield with slightly more rake and a Cabriolet-specific rear seat, the interior is pure GTI. Red accent stitching adorns the flat-bottom leather steering wheel, parking brake, and shifter. The front seats feature VW’s trademark tartan-plaid “Jacky” fabric in the basic car; leather is optional.

The electric-hydraulic fabric top of the regular Golf Cabriolet carries over to the GTI unchanged, still taking just 9.5 seconds to open and 11 seconds to close. It can be operated at speeds up to 19 mph.

Thanks to: Car and Driver
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