The Stunning new Golf Cabrio

By Philip Hedderman

Ask any feminist and they’ll tell you there’s nothing more liberating than whipping your top off in public. It’s even more exciting when you do it in a crowded street as shoppers look on. Some are shocked, some are stunned while others are just downright envious.

Well, as they say – if you’ve got it … flaunt it.

And that’s exactly what we did only this was legal, above board and fully legit. The top in question is the roof of the stunning new Golf Cabrio and the shocked and stunned looks were probably down to the fact that it’s early May and the temperatures are still well below 10 degrees. That was never going to stop this intrepid reporter and as long as the rain stayed off so would the lid.

Now, to say that we were blown away by the new offering is an understatement (literally) … but not by the very things we were expecting. Yes, we were more than impressed by the two tone effect of the black canvass roof and the pearl toned metallic white paint. We were more than pleased to see a toughened glass rear window where once a plastic one would have sat. One even warmed to the more aggressive styling which is refined by smatterings of chrome trim and piano black finish, especially around the grille where the two worked fantastically well.

Yes, we relished the more luxurious interior with half leather/ swede bucket seats which were given an even more sporty feel by red mesh that hugged the sides. The premium feel didn’t end there and here is where the attention to detail kicks in. We discovered the door pockets covered in soft carpet-like material which is perfect for delicate items like mobile phones, cameras or iPods etc.

That finish continued on into the glove compartment should you want to store them in there. The build quality of the cabin is as you’d expect typically Germanic – practical, functional and indestructible if not a little dull especially the digital radio display. But the real surprise was hidden under the bonnet in the guise of the TSi petrol engine.

And what a little dynamo she is.

You see, a 1.2 litre powerplant in a car this size should be massively underpowered, sluggish and downright thirsty. Not so.

In fact, the 105bhp Bluemotion engine is punching well above its weight and even had me checking under the hood after its first outing. At one stage I was convinced the 1.6L badge had fallen off or I had been misinformed in the press pack. A pleasant surprise indeed.

She was packing more than enough grunt for city driving and absolutely purred like a kitten on the motorway.
It sips the juice too and over the week I clocked up an astounding 700kms before I got the nod to refuel.
Thanks to Stop/Start technology and six speed box I averaged well over 42mpg and with emissions of just 134g/km – seeing it reside in Tax Band B and annual duty of €225.

It proved a really fine drive too cruising steadily and with ease on motorways while responsive and informed on smaller country boreens. Road noise, although hugely reduced is not completely eliminated and it still gets a little draughty in there, but you can’t blame the weather on VW.

So its fun and frugal too, but the fun bit is what will clinch the deal for potential buyers. I literally couldn’t wipe the grin off my face trying to gauge whether the looks on people’s faces were that of sympathy (for my 8-year-old passenger) or that of sheer disgust at the sight of a large, bald man cruising around town like a movie star. And that smile takes less than 10 seconds to appear as the lid retracts and is safely stored behind the back seats – all while moving at speeds of up to 30kph.

Because the roof isn’t stowed into the boot, you can actually carry luggage and there’s a decent enough 250 litres of space in there and as the rear seats fold down more awkward loads cam be accommodated. The downside to this is legroom is somewhat restricted and six footers like me wouldn’t relish a long journey. That said, I doubt many singletons especially professional young women will fret too much about the passenger load. As long as there’s room for the Jimmy Choos in the rear and a safe place for the must-have Hermes bag then all is well in the world.

Speaking of accessorising, there was plenty of options to personalise like black high gloss inlays, sports seats, Bluetooth, leather multi-function steering wheel and on-board computer.

After 10-years in the wilderness the new Golf really is a breath of fresh air.

Hot hatch fans will also be delighted with the news that a GTi Cabrio has just been launched which is packing 207bhp, a 0-100kph of 6 seconds an a top speed of 250kph.

Prices for the Golf Cabrio start at €28,465.