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VW reveals its R-line sun-seeker

2011-06-03 07:51

PRETTY POINTLESS: R-line styling details look great, but who wants an all-wheel drive S3-configuration, VW-badged, cabriolet? Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Model Golf R cabriolet
Engine 2-litre turbo
Power 199kW @ 6 000rpm
Torque 350Nm @ 2 500rpm
Zero To Hundred 5.7 sec
Top Speed 250km/h
Tyres 235/35R19
Not content with sibling brand Audi (possibly) outshining it at the annual Lake Wörthersee gathering, VW has revealed its first  performance Golf cabriolet.

The cabrio has been a signature Golf since its introduction back in 1979 but has not been available for nearly a decade due to VW not engineering a Golf 5 version of the famous drop-top. Golf 6 has brought the stylish fabric-roofed hatch back to market (South African dealers by first-quarter 2012), much to the joy of cabriolet fans.

To ensure enthusiasts have something to debate (at length) during the annual VW Group Lake Wörthersee brand festival in Austria, Wolfsburg’s engineers have crafted something rather unusual - an R-line Golf cabriolet.

VERY QUICK SOFT-TOP

Mechanically the Golf R soft-top concept for Wörthersee runs the same modified Gofl 5 GTI two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine that's good for 199kW/350Nm. Thanks to a sophisticated all-wheel drive system from Swedish drivetrain specialist Haldex, it’s also good for 0-100km/h in 5.7sec and a top speed of 250km/h.

The cabriolet’s design gains all the requisite R-line upgrades, including those centrally twin exhausts and fascia/bumper upgrades up front, framed by LED's. If profile it displays simple, yet striking, 19" Talladega alloys which hide huge 430mm diameter brake rotors – lifted from the Golf R hatch.

Like its three (and five) door hot hatch siblings, the R-line cabriolet rides 25mm lower than other Golf 6 models and has appropriately recalibrated damper and spring ratios to handle the greater lateral forces exerted by its substantial performance potential and higher corner entry/exit speeds.

PRODUCTION DENIED

The cabin of this the swiftest of VW sun-seekers is trimmed in dark-blue leather with pure-grey Nappa inserts. The seats are composite framed buckets and look fantastic with their black backs, especially with the soft top down. Sand-blasted aluminium sill plates and composite detailing on the fascia round off the Golf R cabriolet’s cabin embellishments.

VW is (obviously) denying any production future for the car; it's calling it a one-off showcar to thrill the Wörthersee faithful. Purists will scoff at it, suggesting the fabric roof will require too much additional chassis and bodyshell strengthening (adding material weight) to counter the natural reduction in torsional rigidity a powerful soft-top cabriolet inevitably suffers - especially if driven to its performance potential.

From a marketing point of the view the idea of a hardcore performance version of VW’s traditional poseurs’ car hardly makes sense either. If VW had done this a few years back (a convertible version of the Golf 5 R32 in which one could sample its V6 acoustics with the top down), a production derivative might have made sense.

With the Golf R Wörthersee cabriolet, though, VW's built something that is very pretty but also pretty pointless.
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