Go Back   Club Lexus Forums > General Forums > Car Chat
Sign in using an external account
Register Forgot Password?

First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet

Reply
 
 
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-07-13, 11:29 AM   #1
Hoovey2411
Lexus Fanatic
Trader Score: (16)
 
Hoovey2411's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: California
Posts: 29,834
Default First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet

2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet


"The Golf VI's Last Hurrah Is Pure Niche"

Click the image to open in full size.

Gallery:
http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2013-...photo-5693095/

This was in the heart of the ultra-chic Cτte d'Azur during winter. The car to be tested was the not-for-North America 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet. Prevailing weather conditions here this time of year are bizarrely pleasant, as though a dome of Swarovski crystal has been placed over the entire region to protect it from any real winter spoiling things. And the zippy Golf R Cabriolet is a sports car designed precisely for this area's preciously narrow winding streets, as well as for the lofty budgets of its property owners.

So then why was it snowing like we were in northern Michigan? The weather front hit from the north like a swift kick to the Jordaches. The roof was open on this Candy White Golf R Cabrio and I, as is my wont, was determined through thick or thin to keep it retracted. It had been raining and sometimes sleeting like the End of Days, but I kept the lid cracked because the 261-horsepower cabrio – the most powerful convertible ever built by Volkswagen – was snipping along nicely as the bad weather blew over my head and wetted only the rear headrests.

Click the image to open in full size.

Then, as also invariably happens here, the twisty road went single-file behind a massive Tonka truck carrying crushed, heavy stuff. This is not a great circumstance for a cabrio, especially in such weather. In eleven seconds the multi-layer cloth top was in place, a move you can make while traveling at speeds up to 18 miles per hour. Then all was cozy and warmish in this completely opted-out Golf R Cabriolet interior with its heated sport seats, full-on leather everywhere and cushy R-logo'd carpets.

The rain and sleet switched to perfect, clumpy, snowball-fight snow at around 800 feet up the massive coastal cliff face. Here was where the business case for this now-outgoing-generation Golf R, with a base price that would be in the realm of $37,000 in the US, starts to crumble. In short order, I was in a southern French blizzard, surrounded by scared French motorists, driving a fancy fru-fru convertible shod with optional 19-inch high-performance Dunlops (235/35 ZR rated). There was great feathering of this engine's eager 258 pound-feet of torque that stays eager even in Comfort mode, and with the gear lever of the six-speed dual-clutch in fully automatic Drive.

I swallowed my moxie and turned around. This was the right thing to do because the Golf R Cabriolet – unlike the all-wheel-drive Golf R hardtop – is front-wheel-drive only despite the higher sticker. More or less, this is a fully loaded, roofless Golf R treatment sitting atop the Euro-only Scirocco R chassis. And with the estimated 6.2 seconds it takes to get to 60 mph from a dead stop, this high-buck cabrio is nearly a full second slower than the all-wheel-drive hatchback. And there's less luggage space... to boot.

To make this business case work, one clearly has to put aside every practical thought in that sunbathed noggin and believe passionately in the cute and frivolous lifestyle provided by a cabrio that is nonetheless constructed well. Taken thusly, and with the bonus of the tautly assembled cabrio roof unit and R interior, any customer living in a sunny place – without freak snow showers – will be really very happy.

Click the image to open in full size.

On the second day of this trip with Volkswagen, the weather stopped being life-threatening enough to resume my search for Golf R-worthy curves. Playing with the adaptive chassis, switching between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, revealed a good platform with well-engineered brake-steer technology. That helps to minimize this front-driver's tendency to understeer through all these bends, and also helps keep the car's trajectory straight while accelerating out of corners.

I also had to accept the six-speed DSG transmission as a necessary lump of the luxo lazy life. Nothing would fit better in here, or in any Golf, than the company's tried and true six-speed manual transmission. Despite craving it, my wish would never come true. The DSGs are far better units than the Mercedes-Benz 7G family, for instance, but to really squeeze this powertrain's juices, a manual is needed.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

This 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder engine is one of the finest drivetrains ever placed in a car. It's just plain always at the ready, while being smooth about it and convincingly quick. Choosing between this setup and, say, the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder used in the Mini Cooper S Convertible, would be difficult since both are amazingly satisfying drives, and they both seem unduly tortured when coupled to their respective automatic gearboxes.

While, on the one hand, the Golf R Cabriolet's aggressive optional 19-inch wheel/tire set is probably overkill, the team developing this last farewell model for the Golf VI sadly decided to tone down the exhaust note versus the Golf R hatchback (booo, hisss). Now it just sounds pretty instead of pretty gnarly. Note also that the twin exhausts exit the rear scuttle at either corner and are not bunched together in the center as on the hotter hatch. They still look good, though.

Click the image to open in full size.

To summarize, Volkswagen has issued a swan-song in this fully loaded Golf R Cabriolet trim with every significant option in the book aboard. The car is resting on the good but old PQ35 architecture, not the new and better MQB platform of the new Golf MkVII, Audi A3 et al., and is front-wheel-drive only instead of all-wheel-drive like the three-door Golf R. And it costs a few suitcases extra worth of cash. It's also a really odd duck in that it's being added to the lineup in Europe after the all-new Golf VII has already gone on sale.

Honestly, though, VW can do this with the Golf in Europe since the Golf VI is the most successful premium hatchback by far in Europe, even in the model's final year of production. At profit margins like this, what a luxury.

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/03/07/2...f-r-cabriolet/
This ad is not displayed to registered members.
Register your free account today and become a member on Club Lexus!
__________________
http://www.clublexus.com/forums/signaturepics/sigpic95774_1.gif
|Version 3.5 |TLN #918|
GIANTS|NINERS|SHARKS|WARRIORS
Hoovey2411 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-13, 11:56 AM   #2
mmarshall
Lexus Fanatic
Trader Score: (0)
 
mmarshall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 50,600
Default

Interesting. I've never seen a Golf Convertible before. VW has always marketed the Golf, here and in Europe, as 3 or 5-door hatchbacks (4-door sedan models, of course, being the Jetta). VW ragtops here (EOS, Beetle, Cabrio, etc....) have never been considered part of the Golf lineup.
__________________
mmarshall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-13, 03:50 PM   #3
blacksc400
Car Chat Moderator
Trader Score: (4)
 
blacksc400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Las Vegas!
Posts: 9,236
Default

There were Golf convertibles before like this one:

Click the image to open in full size.

or this

Click the image to open in full size.
__________________


C L U B L E X U S
2013 BMW 750I M-Sport 2014 BMW X1 2013 HONDA CIVIC
Had 25 lexuses for last 9 years.
blacksc400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-13, 03:50 PM
 
 
 
 
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2014 Volkswagen Golf R prototype makes its first appearance Hoovey2411 Car Chat 54 11-19-14 06:07 PM
40 Years of the VW Golf Hoovey2411 Car Chat 1 04-02-14 06:20 PM
VW confirms Golf GTD diesel coming to US for 2016 Hoovey2411 Car Chat 2 07-03-13 06:07 PM
Volkswagen Golf voted 2013 European Car of the Year Hoovey2411 Car Chat 4 03-11-13 05:27 PM
2012 Volkswagen Golf R loses power and choice of tranny on way to U.S. Hoovey2411 Car Chat 12 03-01-11 09:43 PM


Tags
2013, 98, cabrio, cabriolet, convertible, dimensions, forum, golf, luggage, vw

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:58 PM.

Join ClubLexus
Advertising


Copyright © 2000-2008 Internet Brands, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Use | JOBS


Get all contact info