Volkswagen Golf GTI for 36 years now, this vehicle designation has been the benchmark icon of all sporty compact models. Over 1.8 million VW Golf GTI cars have been sold to date. Launched initially as a young and wild car, Volkswagen’s GTI has long graduated to become a highly respected classic. One aspect that has remained constant from its inception to the current generation GTI is a sporty yet economical engine and very dynamically designed running gear. However, what never existed before under the GTI label was an open-top version. But that will be changing very soon: Volkswagen launches the first convertible in GTI history on 22 June 2012.
With an output of 155 kW / 210 PS (from 5,300 rpm to 6,200 rpm), the TSI engine which lies at the heart of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet has exactly the same power as the classic GTI with a steel and/or panoramic sunroof. Specifically, this is a GTI direct-injection petrol engine of the EA888 series. The turbocharged 16-valve four-cylinder engine develops a maximum torque of 280 Newton metres at a low 1,700 rpm. And this torque remains available at a constant level up to 5,200 rpm an ideal plateau for a torque curve, which is actually not curved any longer.
Like all GTIs, the convertible is equipped with a sport chassis; it was lowered 22 mm at the front axle and 15 mm at the rear axle. In front, the familiar MacPherson type suspension operates with helical springs and telescopic dampers. At the rear, an innovative multi-link rear suspension ensures that the ESP seldom needs to be activated. Also extremely durable is the brake system. A distinctive visual feature the red painted brake callipers
As in the hard-top GTI, the open-top version also has the XDS electronic differential lock as a standard feature to improve traction and handling properties. Technically, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic differential lock (EDS) integrated into the car’s ESP. As soon as the electronics detect that the driven front wheel at the inside of a bend is losing grip, the ESP hydraulics build up brake pressure at this wheel to restore optimal traction. In this way, the XDS acts as a transverse differential lock, compensating for the typical understeer of front-wheel drive cars when driving through bends at higher speeds. The result: thanks to XDS driving behaviour is significantly more precise and neutral.
Although Volkswagen employs a fabric roof for the Golf GTI Cabriolet, the sporty four-seater is one of the quietest convertibles available. Its soothing, quiet ride is attributable to the sophisticated design of the fabric roof as well as special window and door seals. The top itself consists of the linkage, a roofliner, insulating filler layer throughout and exterior cover. The joining longitudinal seams of the exterior cover fabric centre panel and two side sections were designed to serve in addition as a drip rail. Mounted between the longitudinal frames of the top linkage are a total of four roof cross bows and the so-called front roof bow the first large transverse element behind the windscreen frame. In turn, the soft top is joined to the roof bows by screw-fastened fabric retention strips. Consequently, even at higher speeds which can theoretically reach over 230 km/h in the VW Golf GTI Cabriolet the fabric roof does not fill with air and that has a positive effect on aerodynamics.
When the roof is stowed, the upper surface of the front roof bow covers the top surface of the roof storage box. This eliminates the need for a separate cover. The results standard fully-automatic electro-hydraulic top opens faster, because there is no additional box cover to be swung upward. The fully automatic electro-hydraulic cover opens in 9.0 seconds and closes in 11.0 seconds.