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Geneva show: VW Golf GTI cabrio becomes reality

Fore: The Golf GTI Cabrio can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, a touch slower than the hatch but 2.2 seconds sooner than it takes to lower the roof.

Drop-top Golf GTI under consideration for Oz as production model debuts at Geneva

5 Mar 2012

VOLKSWAGEN’S well-received Golf Cabrio has officially received the GTI treatment with the addition of the 155kW/280Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine from its hot-hatch stablemate.

A VW Group Australia spokesperson told GoAuto the GTI drop-top is under consideration for Australia but that nothing is confirmed at this stage – although given a quarter of all Golf hatchbacks are sold here in GTI trim, it seems a likely candidate for import.

Making its world production debut at the Geneva show a year after the standard Cabrio was first revealed, the GTI Cabrio loses the glossy black front splitter, wheel-arch flares and side-skirts of the concept that was first seen at the Wothersee enthusiast event in Austria last June alongside a more powerful but more realistically styled R variant.

Performance wise, the GTI Cabrio can accelerate from rest to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds, four tenths slower than the hatch, regardless of whether it is fitted with the six-speed manual or dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission.

Fuel economy also suffers slightly, by about 0.3 litres per 100 kilometres based on the New European Driving Cycle, with the manual consuming 7.6L/100 km and the DSG using 7.7L/100 km.

3 center imageExternally the hot Cabrio gets all the signature GTI styling such as the red-framed, honeycomb meshed radiator grille, large lower air intakes, smoked LED tail-light clusters, GTI badging and 17-inch Denver alloy wheels.

Apart from the more steeply-raked windscreen pillars and smaller rear bench, the GTI Cabrio’s interior matches the hatch, with touches such as tartan fabric on the seats.

It also features aluminium pedals and gear-shifter, red-stitched black leather on the sports steering wheel, gear shift gaiter and handbrake, GTI-specific door trim inlays and high-gloss accents around the cabin.

In addition to tweaked sports suspension, GTI technology like the electronic differential lock and more sophisticated XDS transverse differential lock are present and correct, helping to reduce torque-steer and ensuring stability when accelerating hard out of tight bends.

For the GTI, the soft-top roof lining is black but otherwise unmodified as it was developed to handle high speeds – the GTI Cabrio’s terminal velocity being a heady 237km/h.

The roof can be deployed at speeds of up to 30km/h, taking 9.5 seconds to open and 11 seconds to close.

As with the standard Cabrio, the GTI features a full complement of airbags, automatic roll-over protection and a 250-litre boot.

Volkswagen has sold 122 Golf Cabrios so far this year and 299 found homes last year following its November launch.

The German brand is having a great start to 2012, with sales of 7498 vehicles to the end of Feburary representing a 35.6 per cent boost following strong growth of 17.7 per cent last year, when it sold 44,740 units.

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