The power available is bonkers and with all of it funnelled through the front wheels, torque steer is predominant and blood will drain from your knuckles as you fight to maintain directional control.
☀ ☀ ☀
Volkswagen recently ‘re-adjusted’ the price of the Golf R Cabriolet from a ridiculous £38,770 to a silly £33,650 – a reduction of around £5,000, and in the process almost resolving one of this cars three major problems. “The price and premise were wrong, and with the benefit of independent perspective [read: motoring hacks were all over the price like a rash], we pushed very hard to get the pricing modified,” said VW UK boss Robert Hazelwood.
This is the first time that VW has offered a Golf Cabrio with the racy ‘R’ spec and while a new addition to the Volkswagen model line-up, technically the car is far from new – its second problem.
It is based on the last generation Golf 6 – which in turn was a re-skinned Golf 5 – so it’s not built to the same tech level as the latest, much acclaimed Golf 7 hatchback. While its underpinnings may shoulder too much history, the R Cabriolet is nonetheless the fastest and most expensive drop-top Golf ever.
It’s bonkers quick and in a different league to the comparatively tepid GTI. The 2.0-litre TSI engine puts out 265hp and official figures advise 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and 155mph top-end. While the Golf R Cabrio handles sweetly when controlled, watch out for its third problem – severe torque steer, or weaving from the front wheels – when accelerating hard away from rest. It will dispatch the less experienced into the nearest hedge quicker than you can exclaim ‘You da MAN!’. Urban ride quality is harsh and crashy over non-mirror-like surfaces.
The styling is crisp with a number of exterior cues nicked from the R hatchback, including ‘R’ badging on the grille and brake callipers, black gloss trim and Bi-xenon main lighting.
Even after the price reduction, it remains an expensive car. But you do get a host of good kit such as DAB radio, leather seats and 19-inch ‘Talladega’ alloy wheels and an ‘R’ styling pack. The cabin still seems reasonably well built but the bone-jarring ride may eventually remove bits and pieces of the interior to which you may have developed some affection.
Parked directly next to the latest (and brilliant) Mk7 Golf, it is not difficult to notice that the interior has dated rapidly and now has an air of shabby chic to it – sans the chic.
With the price cut to a slightly more palatable £33,650, the Golf R Cabriolet contrast its GTi Cabriolet sibling which starts from £30,235 and is just one second slower to 62mph.
It’s difficult to justify the very existence of the Golf ‘R’ Cabriolet for the sake of having a halo product to keep the ‘R’ performance brand alive. In all honesty, it is difficult to recommend over its GTi sibling which, after driving this, makes more sense than ever.
Fast Facts: VW Golf R Cabriolet 2.0-litre TSI 265PS 2dr 6spd DSG:
Basic RRP: £33,650 Power output (PS @ rpm): 265 @ 6,000 Max torque (lbs ft / Nm @ rpm): 258 / 350 @ 2,500 Top speed: 155 mph 0-62 mph: 6.4s Fuel economy: Combined – 34.4 mpg CO2 emissions: 190g/km Insurance group: 39E Warranty: 3 years / 60,000 miles; 3 years paint; 12 years body protection Breakdown assistance: 1 year Volkswagen Assistance (UK & Europe).