The drop-top market is nothing new to the Volkswagen brand. In the past there were cabriolet versions of the Golf and Beetle, but last year VW introduced it first purpose-developed cabriolet, the Eos. Now this coupe-cabriolet is available in South Africa.
Although the Eos shares its underpinnings with the Golf and Passat, it is an all-new model to the VW range. Unlike past VW cabriolets such as the Golf, the Eos isn't an existing model that got its roof chopped off.
The Eos sits on a stretched Golf platform and shares its front suspension with its hatchback sibling too, while the rear set-up comes from the Passat.
And unlike VW drop-tops of yesteryear, the Eos is following modern trends and features a retractable tin-top roof instead of the traditional canvas top.
The car is named after the Greek goddess of dawn, for obvious reasons, and it joins the likes of the Renault Megane CC, Peugeot 207 CC, Volvo C70 and the Opel Astra TwinTop. But, with the exception of the C70, VW says that the Eos isn't just a model derivative of an existing product.
Although it features some typical VW styling cues such as the trademark single-frame chrome grille, the Eos has its own personality.
It has more than enough distinctive design and engineering elements to be recognised as a separate model range. Furthermore every body panel is unique to the vehicle too.
Probably the most difficult task for the design team of any coupe-cabriolet is to make it look pretty. Most of the current tin-top cabrios look clumsy and back-end-heavy. However, the Eos appears less bulky and more athletic.
Obviously the most interesting feature of the car is its roof design. Usually coupe-cabriolets feature a three-piece roof design, but VW settled for a clever five-section set-up.
The roof can be opened and closed respectively in only 25 seconds by a hydroelectric device.
What's unique to the Eos too, is that with the roof up there's a glass sunroof that slides up and over the top of the car.
But what one of the nicest surprises is just how much room there is for two adults in the back, while luggage space is good too.
With the roof down VW claims that there is 205 litres of luggage space. Otherwise it offers a useful 380 litres.
The engine line-up includes a 110 kW 2-litre FSI engine and the Golf GTI's 147 kW turbo charged version. According to VW the top speed of the top-model is 232 km/h and it will reach 0-100km/ in 7.8 seconds.
Both engine derivatives are available with a six-speed manual transmission while the turbo-charged model also comes with VW's excellent DSG auto transmission.
The Eos comes standard with a host of safety features such as ABS with EBD, ESP with Brake Assist, ASR and EDL. There are also front, side and head airbags. In terms of comfort you get sports seats, leather trim, seat heating, cruise control and rain sensors.
Potential buyers can also spec their car with options such as Xenon-headlights and satellite-navigation.
On the launch we only drove the Eos with the 147 kW engine with the DSG box. Yes, it might have GTI DNA but the Eos is no sportscar...
Obviously the roof adds some serious weight to the car, while the centre of gravity is also higher. This result on less nimble performance, so don't expect that you can go out and thrash the Eos through twisties.
As with most other four-seater cabriolets the Eos, is aimed at relaxed driving and cruising. And the car does a good job at it as the ride quality is good and composed.
Perceivable quality of the Eos is good and the car certainly does have an exclusive feel to it. The roof is also really impressive and there is no doubt that the car will appeal to those looking for fashionable wheels.
The Eos is another open-top sensation and a looker too. But it comes with a hefty price tag and is sort of positioned in its own niche.
When compared to rivals, VW positioned the Eos in terms of pricing between coupe-cabriolets such as the Peugeot 307 and Volvo C70. Typical VW, the carmaker places the Eos a notch above its competitors on the price ladder.
VW justifies the hefty price tag by saying that the Eos has a "premium coupe-cabriolet" persona with better space and an unmatched roof design.
Eos 2.0 FSI 110kW manual: R323 000
Eos 2.0T FSI 147kW manual Sportline: R365 000
Eos 2.0T FSI 147kW DSG Sportline: R378 500
The Eos Model comes with full Volkswagen Automotion Plan of a five year or 100 000km Freeway full maintenance plan.