A taste of summer with Volkswagen’s latest Golf cabriolet

Motoring Posted 21/07/13
Volkswagen’s new Cabriolet Golf R could prove a motoring star this summer, as Neill Barston discovers.

One thing for certain about Volkswagen’s Cabriolet Golf R – is that it is certainly no slouch whether around town or taking to the open road.

So much so it has been billed as the swiftest ever convertible from the German motoring giant, which has certainly brought it a fair share of media headlines.

With the top down on a warm summer’s day, there’s no doubt it is whole lot of fun to drive, featuring some smart specifications including bespoke 19 inch alloys, twin chrome exhausts and distinctive bodykit.

Clearly, much is expected of every vehicle to emerge from its ranks and it will consequently have to work hard to gain a slice of its niche market.

However, just a few laps round Millbrook’s test track confirms its pedigree, handling well through the corners and the capability of 0-60 in 6.4 seconds underlines its pretensions as a serious contender in producing 260bhp.

Its two-litre turbo petrol engine has been partnered with ah DSG auto gearbox which feels reassuringly slick and the general ride quality appears pretty firm.

The car’s interiors are all you would expect from VW in being typically logical and unfussy, with clear controls and refined leather seats that offer a nice finishing touch.

Pleasingly, this is a cabriolet that’s a genuine four-seater, seemingly fairly roomy for rear passengers within its solid and logically laid out interiors.

Standard kit includes heated seats, iPod connection and DAB radio and some smart aluminium touches on the trim available for the top-end model. Its electric roof is pretty swift too- folding away in under 10 seconds is far from sluggish.

Though at 250 litres, its boot space is far from extensive, for a cabriolet it still feels pretty practical. It might not be everyone’s idea of an ideal everyday car, there are some flashes of style that make it something a little special.

Such qualities do however come at a price- originally it was reportedly slated to cost £38,000, which met with some concern within the industry, with its price tag duly being reduced by several thousand to ensure sales.

Some question marks have been raised over a lack of in-built sat nav as standard, but for those who are fans of the marquee, such issues may well be obstacles worth contending with.

Factfile

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet R

• Fuel economy 34.4mpg
• CO2 emissions 190g/km
• Engine size 2.0-litre turbo petrol
• Price from £33,170
• Power 261bhp
• 0-60mph 6.4 seconds
• Top speed 155mph

With competition coming from its less-expensive GTi model, quite how many R cabriolets will be sold is something that only time will tell. Clearly, its original price-point of the best part of £40,000 placed it as more expensive than a number of Audis, which perhaps prompted a re-think.

It ticks many of the right boxes in terms of build quality and handling, which should make it worthy of consideration for admirers of the marque.

Some have commented that its handling is a little challenged when faced with some of our less-impressive road conditions, but its overall performance appears assured.

The R cabriolet is a car that will likely find its market in the younger age bracket of drivers who are seeking an involved driving experience. Given its comparatively high-end price, it is going up against some serious contenders, but fans will doubtless approve of its merits.

It may not be destined to sell in huge volumes, yet it is an interesting prospect for those who are willing to pay a premium for a car offering a mix of speed and understated style.

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