Volkswagen have been building Golf Cabriolets since 1979, and have sold close to 700,000 of them to date, and this new style version was unveiled after a nine year break at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
The all-new redesigned structural strengthening has removed the need for the top ‘strawberry punnet’ bar, characteristic of previous models. In addition to this, other improvements less noticeable on the surface have brought the car bang up to date.
The sleek strong lines cut a sexy, but sophisticated figure out on the road, and it’s a terrific looking car, especially in Metallic Dark Purple or Sunset Red. At first driving the VW Golf is a bit like buying a new pair of shoes, or getting a haircut, everywhere you go you think people are casting admiring glances over you.
The difference with the Golf is people do actually look at it, especially with the roof down. The windscreen is heavily raked and before lowering the seat I could have quite easily driven it looking over the top. This being a convertible you’ll want to put the roof down every chance you get, something you can do quietly and smoothly in less than 10 seconds. Should there be a sudden downpour (unlikely i know in the UK), you’ll still be able to keep things dry.
Put the roof up and the Golf changes personality instantly, reverting back to a good old ‘regular’ type car. To compensate while the weather is bad (or too hot), there is a twin climate control that even makes allowances for the amount of sunlight penetrating the cabin, and while the wind noise is slightly more that it would be with a hard top, it is not excessive enough to become an issue.
The sporty feel you get from the convertible means I would have preferred a slightly smaller steering wheel, meanwhile the interior is the usual high standard seen in all VW’s. If you can afford to pay extra for the Sat Nav and the Bi-xenon headlights go for it, both are excellent and the ‘white’ light you get from the lights is a marked improvement.
It might seem slightly strange putting an economical diesel engine in a car that wants to live life on the open road with carefree abandon, but despite being a juggling act between practicality and fun, it actually works well and drives very much like a regular diesel Golf.
The compromise means the engine is always a split second behind your foot, but the Golf BlueMotion is a lover not a fighter, and the money you will save on diesel over time can be significant. As is more common recently, the car features a stop/start system that cuts the engine when you are stationary in neutral, also designed to save fuel and engine wear and tear.
Going from 0-62mph takes a fairly sedate 12.1 seconds, but it does have a respectable top speed of 117mph, the 2 litre version is a bit nippier (128 mph) but still takes 9.9 seconds to do the same distance. For stats fans, the 1.6 BlueMotion diesel engine has a power output of 105 PS at 4,400 rpm with maximum torque of 250 Nm (184 lbs ft) from 1,500 to 2,500 rpm.
One of its big selling points is the excellent 64.2miles per gallon (combined), and a pretty low emissions figure of 117 g/km CO2. The cabriolet also has the highest 5 star safety rating in EURO NCAP tests for adult, child and pedestrian protection.
There is something about Convertibles that conveys the best and worst things about driving a car. When the sun is shining they are fantastic, transforming an often mundane form of transportation into an affirmation of being alive. They are romantic, rebellious, but as soon as they weather changes, a reminder of how you spent all that money on a car that has a roof made of fabric.
The Gold BlueMotion’s compromises to make the car ‘greener’ mean some of this passion is dampened down a tad, but the real question is, do those occasions when you CAN put the roof down and enjoy the ride make up for the times when it is too cold?
Here’s a thought though, if cars produced MORE emissions then the ozone hole would get bigger quicker and the weather would get warmer. Then we could spend more time with the roof down. Not a very responsible long term solution I know, but maybe VW will start building spaceships and we can go and find another planet to plunder for the next million or so years.
Of course we could move somewhere hot and exotic, but then we’d have to worry about the snakes, and the food, and the language and the……
The New Golf Cabriolet SE BlueMotion Technology 1.6 TDI 105ps from £23,260
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