2013 Vw Golf GTI Cabriolet coming to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian A., on February 11, 2012

There will be a new VW Golf GTI Cabriolet to be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show next month, according to an Auto Express report. At the Worthersee tuning event in Austria last year, a soft-top GTI debuted together with an R Cabrio. It is believed that this new model would be the last one for the MkVI Golf, which is slated to be replaced in 2013.

This marks just the second time that a Golf GTI Cabriolet is offered. The first MkI version came out in the 1980s. For a considerable amount of time, the GTI’s engine had been available in the Golf Cabriolet and Eos hard-top but a full GTI-spec car wasn’t offered.

Because of this move, UK customers would be able to purchase a ‘proper’ drop-top GTI, with the 208bhp 2.0-litre turbo matched to GTI-specific suspension (including optional Adaptive Chassis Control) and a GTI interior incorporating tartan seats.

VW will be using six-speed manual and DSG gearboxes as well as 17-inch alloys. A set of 19-inch Glendale alloy wheels is offered on the Worthersee GTI. These optional wheels are priced at £1,005 over the GTI hatch’s standard Monza 17-inch alloys.

In addition, it has the Edition 35’s LED lights, aside from an aggressive bodykit that comes with bespoke front and rear bumpers and side skirts. It is believed that this car would be an optioned-up production-ready GTI Cabriolet instead of being a one-off show model.

It’s likely that the Worthersee Golf R Cabrio would be put into production. If so, it would be very exciting since this would be the most powerful VW convertible ever produced, featuring a 268bhp 2.0-litre turbo and four-wheel drive.

Fitted as a standard safety feature on the new Golf Volkswagen GTI Cabriolet is the roll-over protection system. Through this system, the driver can set a value for the tilt angle or the transverse acceleration. Should the new model go beyond this preset value, it activates a roll-over protection component found at the rear headrests.

It does this in a matter of 0.25 second. Additionally, the system offers roll-over modules, two of them in fact. The first is an aluminum fixed profile with the second being an aluminum moveable profile that has been pretensioned. Its inner profile in particular is held in the rest position through the use of a magnetic switch. When the system determines that the rollover is possible, the module is activated through an airbag controller wherein a solenoid opens up a holding detent after which the inner profile is released.

Once released, it goes in an upward direction. While this is happening, the toothed track that has been mounted to the vehicle’s inner is overrun by the support detent. This is important as it ensures that the inner profile is prevented from going downwards. What makes the Golf Volkswagen GTI even more amazing in addition to this safety feature is that the brand was able to apply a cargo pass-through that has a 381-mm height and 526-mm width.

Included of course is the folding seatback in the rear. The roll-over protection system is but one of the many features that ensure that occupants get maximum safety. For instance, the windscreen frame that has been reinforced and there are various improvements selected for the other components like the doors, cross members, side panels, and underbody, to name a few. All of these result in the Golf Volkswagen GTI displaying extreme torsional rigidity.

For those not familiar, there is such a thing as the coefficient of static torsional rigidity, which in the GTI is at least 13,500 Nm for every degree. Generally, the first resonant torsional frequency is beyond 17.5 Hz, which is excellent for a cabriolet. Going back to the reinforcements, they can easily be seen when one looks at the GTI from below, of course using a raised platform.

This can even differentiate the standard Golf from the Cabrio. Indeed, there are clear differences especially in the underbodies. For the cabriolet, one can observe that on the front part, the enclosure of the engine is composed of aluminum. When paired with the mounting brakes, rigidity is enhanced. Since the engine mount also acts as a vibration damper, the front section is even more refined.

On the diagonal braces and sill area, there are two lateral reinforcements each on the front and the rear. With the subframe joint in the rear being reinforced as well, the GTI gets that added rigidity while the resonant body vibrations are lowered. All of this talk about rigidity is important since it plays an important role in making sure that comfort and driving stability are optimized. In addition, rust is prevented from forming on the vehicle by galvanizing the body.

Press Release

Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet

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.

Engine - GTI dynamics

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.

The TSI engine accelerates the most powerful Golf Cabriolet ever from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds. A special strength of the engine is its great flexibility: the manually shifted Cabriolet can accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h in just 10.5 seconds - this value shows why the open-top four-seat convertible is an ideal cruiser. The VW Golf GTI Cabriolet attains a top speed of 237 km/h (DSG: 235 km/h). This contrasts with a combined fuel consumption of just 7.6 l/100 km and 177 g/km as the equivalent CO2 emissions (DSG: 7.7 l/100 km and 180 g/km CO2). Incidentally, the Golf GTI is the only convertible in the compact class up to 210 PS to be offered with a dual clutch gearbox!

The engine and exhaust system of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet are making their appearance accompanied by a very unique yet typical sound. A sound that, on the one hand, sounds extremely sporty, yet is not at all irritating over long drives. The GTI exhaust system also regulates the noise level outside the vehicle. All that can be seen of the exhaust system are two chrome tailpipes that are integrated in the convertible's black diffuser, one on the right and one on the left. Inside, a complex exhaust line system propagates the typical GTI sound. In addition, a sound generator ensures that the sonorous engine tone also enters the closed interior perfectly 'mixed'.

Running gear - GTI precision

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.

In addition, DCC adaptive chassis control is available as an option for the new Golf GTI Cabriolet. It continually reacts to the roadway and driving situation and modifies the damper characteristics accordingly. The driver experiences this directly through significant improvements in comfort and dynamic performance. To let drivers modify system behaviour according to their preferences, DCC offers, in addition to the 'Normal' program with a moderate base setting for damping, both 'Sport' and 'Comfort' modes. These are activated by a button above the gear shift gate. In 'Sport' mode, the power steering is adjusted for more dynamic tuning.

Roof - the GTI soft top

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: the 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.

The top is operated from a switch on the centre console. Opening and closing are even possible while driving - at speeds up to 30 km/h. Two hydraulic pumps activated by a central switch generate the necessary pressure. Even in this area, special care was taken to ensure that the least possible noise is generated; for example, the hydraulic unit is enclosed by insulation. Unlatching and latching of the Golf GTI Cabriolet's soft top is handled by an electro-mechanical locking system. It operates fully automatically. This means that no additional manual unlatching or latching is necessary. To ensure a good view behind the car, the top's heated rear glass window was designed to be especially large for a cabriolet.

Safety - GTI protective systems

A roll-over protection system is included in the Golf Volkswagen GTI Cabriolet as a standard safety feature. The roll-over protection element implemented in the Golf shoots up behind the rear headrests within 0.25 seconds of the vehicle exceeding a predefined transverse acceleration or tilt angle. The system's two roll-over modules consist of one fixed aluminium profile and one moveable aluminium profile within it that is pretensioned. The inner profile is held in its rest position by a magnetic switch. When triggered by the airbag controller in reaction to an impending rollover, the solenoid opens a holding detent and releases the inner profile. While it shoots upward, a support detent overruns a toothed track mounted to the inner profile and prevents the inner profile from dropping downwards. Despite the roll-over protection system, Volkswagen was able to implement a cargo pass-through with a width of 526 mm and a height of 381 mm in the VW Golf GTI Cabriolet including a folding rear seatback.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet offers maximum all-round safety thanks to its roll-over protection system, a reinforced windscreen frame and numerous other structural modifications (underbody, side panels, cross members, doors). Due to its numerous reinforcements, the open-top GTI also exhibits extreme torsional rigidity. Some of these reinforcements are visible when the cabriolet is viewed from below, such as when the Cabrio and a 'normal' Golf stand side by side on a raised platform. In a visual comparison, the observer can see significant differences in the underbodies. In front, the cabriolet has an engine enclosure made of aluminium; together with its mounting brackets, this increases rigidity. In addition, the engine mount, acting as a vibration damper, adds refinement at the front end. Two lateral reinforcements in the sill area and diagonal braces, two at the front and two at the rear, as well as the reinforced rear subframe joint lead to further gains in rigidity and a significant reduction in resonant body vibrations.

What is referred to as the coefficient of static torsional rigidity reaches a value of over 13,500 Newton metres per degree; the first resonant torsional frequency lies above 17.5 Hz - first-class for a cabriolet. And this rigidity, which is also a crucial factor for optimum driving stability and comfort, is quite noticeable. Meanwhile the galvanised body protects the car from rusting.

The protective systems in the Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet are completed by reinforcements in the doors and standard front and side head-thorax airbags. The latter are specially designed for a convertible, since of course it is impossible to mount side head airbags in the roof area. The head-thorax airbags integrated in the lateral sections of the seatbacks therefore deploy next to the driver and front passenger over the entire interior height of the VW Golf GTI Cabriolet. A standard knee airbag has also been incorporated on the driver's side. In conjunction with the safety belt, this airbag absorbs energy from the pelvic area and the legs, which leads to reduced occupant loading. Taking it further: thanks to the knee airbag, the driver is integrated in the vehicle's deceleration mode sooner via the thighs and pelvis. This initiates upper body rotation precisely, so that the driver's airbag can make contact with and support the upper body at an optimised angle. The knee airbag's mode of operation illustrates the true complexity of the networking of safety systems.

Exterior features - GTI insignia

Like the classic Golf GTI with a fixed steel roof, the new convertible also exhibits visual trademarks of the GTI. They are the typical GTI insignia that have made their way into the collective memory of all car drivers over the past 36 years. At the front, they are the red framing of the radiator grille with its honeycomb structure and GTI signature, the honeycomb structure of the lower air inlets, the front GTI bumper and the GTI-specific fog lights with chrome surrounds. At the rear, the Golf GTI Cabriolet is distinguished by a new diffuser design, the typical chrome tailpipes (one on the left and one on the right) and smoked LED rear lights. The licence plate at the rear is also illuminated by LEDs. From the sides, the side sill extensions and 17-inch 'Denver' alloy wheels (on 225/45 tyres) make the convertible a GTI. Of course, here too 18-inch 'Detroit' GTI wheels with 225/40 tyres are available as an option.

The visual highlight of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet is the fact that it has an even more dynamic look than the Golf GTI with a permanent steel roof, which is already a car that is considered to have very sporty styling. And there is a reason for this: especially when viewed from the front, the convertible gains in dynamic appearance thanks to a more raked windscreen. The convertible with the optional bi-xenon headlights makes a particularly dominant impression; the dual headlamps also incorporate daytime running lights formed by 15 LEDs.

Interior features - GTI feeling

Inside, the GTI Cabriolet has sport seats upholstered in the classic tartan fabric 'Jacky'. The GTI badge is worked into the upper area of the backrests. Leather seats are available as an option ('Vienna' cool leather). Integrated in the seats is a lumbar support, which is activated by a lever on the side of the seat and is a standard feature. Just as in the GIT with a steel roof, the VW GTI Cabriolet naturally has pedals with brushed stainless steel caps, a unique GTI gear shift lever in aluminium look and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with grip recesses and a GTI emblem. Naturally, the steering wheel, gear shift cover and leather trim of the parking brake lever have decorative red seams; and the interior lining of the soft top is black as are the trim covers of the roof pillars. The decorative inlays in the doors and instrument panels in 'Black Stripe' design are GTI-specific as well: black, high-gloss accents with a metallic look. Also standard: the automatic climate control system and RCD 210 audio system. As standard, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet also has a practical Easy Entry function for the front seats, making it easier for rear passengers to enter and exit the vehicle.

History - Golf I, III and IV Cabriolet

It is the original standard against which all open-top compacts are measured: the Golf I Cabriolet. The successor to the Beetle Cabriolet, of which nearly 332,000 units were sold, was presented at the Geneva International Motor Show on 27 February 1979. In June that year, production of the future bestseller began - initially in parallel with the Beetle Cabriolet, the last unit of which was produced at Karmann in Osnabrück on 10 January 1980. By that time it was clear that Volkswagen and Karmann had launched a new hit with the new Golf Cabriolet - the first car in this class to have a permanently installed roll bar. It even led to a global renaissance of convertible driving. This was hardly evident, however, when the new convertible was launched on the market; the announcement of the impending demise of the Beetle Cabriolet led to a massive influx of orders.
Let's take a look back:

Golf I Cabriolet - the beginning of a global success

Anton Konrad, who at that time was PR Director at Volkswagen, recalls: "The Beetle community even came together for a funeral procession in Wolfsburg." When Konrad learned of this, instead of sending out security he sent out a refreshment booth with sausages, and he invited the spokesperson of the Beetle friends for a test drive in the Golf Cabrio. Bottom line: "He was amazed at how much more technically advanced it was than his beloved Beetle." In fact, the new Golf Cabriolet had a sophisticated and yet uncomplicated roof design with a five-layer fabric-lined top, four full-size seats, a fuel-efficient and yet agile drive system and fabulous running gear. The rest is history: the first generation not only overtook the Beetle Cabriolet in sales with 388,522 units built; it also went on to become the most successful cabriolet of its time.

Golf I Cabriolet - second series

The fact that one and the same generation of an automobile was a bestseller over a period of more than a dozen years without any significant visual modifications is more than unusual. This can only work if the basic design and technology are engineered to be practically timeless. This was true of the Golf I Cabriolet (as it was true of the Beetle Cabriolet before it). Since the Golf Cabriolet was so popular, Volkswagen decided not to develop a new convertible based on the second generation Golf that was introduced in 1983. Instead, the Golf I Cabriolet was simply given a makeover. Therefore, the Golf Cabriolet from 1983 (model year 1984) onward is most accurately referred to as the second model series of the Golf I Cabrio.

Over the next few years, Volkswagen continually optimised the Golf Cabriolet. In 1987, for example, the wheel housings and side sills were made more voluminous, and the car was given a more dynamic visual appearance; and from 1990 the cabriolet could be purchased with an electro-hydraulically activated soft-top. Various limited edition models kept the car up-to-date, such as the 'Etienne Aigner', 'Acapulco', 'Genesis' or elegant 'Classicline' versions that are so coveted today. In 1992, the optional driver's airbag made its way into the Golf Cabriolet, completing its safety system. Ever since 1985, a catalytic converter has been offered in the Golf Cabriolet as well. The most powerful version with a three-way catalytic converter produced a clean 98 PS starting in 1989; the 1.8i was the last new engine version of this model series, production of which ended in April 1993.

Golf III Cabriolet - revolution in terms of safety

The debut of the Golf III Cabriolet in 1993 marked the beginning of a new era in the area of safety. First, it was possible to improve crash properties significantly. Second, new technical developments now took hold in the vehicle in grand style. They included front airbags, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and side impact protection. And of course, the new model also relied on a large roll bar between the B-pillars. Beyond safety, the latest development stage of this roll bar offered very practical advantages: the more precise guides for the side windows reduced interior noise levels; the bar could better support the roof when it was up; and the shade-like wind blocker got a perfect upper fastening point. Opening and closing of the roof was now possible in less than 20 seconds with the optional electro-hydraulic drive system. Even at a red light, it was possible to fold down the top to catch some sunshine. Like the Golf I Cabriolet, this successor - based on the third generation Golf - also rapidly attained bestseller status: within two years of its production launch, over 70,000 units were sold.

Golf IV Cabriolet - continuation of a global success

When the fourth generation Golf made its debut in 1997, the drive technologies and the front end styling were adapted from the Golf III Cabriolet, the latest version of which had now officially matured to become the Golf IV Cabriolet. And right up to its last day of production, this convertible set standards in a discipline that to date has appeared to be more of a passing interest for this kind of car: its fuel economy. At 5.2 litres of diesel per 100 km, the Golf TDI Cabriolet was one of the most fuel-efficient open-top cars in the world. And that's almost it for the initial history of the Golf Cabriolet: 2001 marks the end of the first era that began in 1979. During this time period, 684,226 units were built. Between 1996 and the beginning of 2002, the Golf Cabriolet was also built at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico - for the North American market. That plant produced 83,628 open-top Golf cars, of which 765 were exported to Germany. A total of 684,226 Golf Cabriolets for practically all of the earth's continents.

A final tally for the record books? Not really! Since 2011, the former Karmann plants have been building the new Golf VI Cabriolet. And now - for the first time in the history of the Golf Cabriolet - it is being offered as a GTI!

In the side walls of the 250 litre boot there are practical bag hooks; right next to the hooks are the remote unlatching switches for folding the 50:50 split rear bench seat. When the backrest is folded, the very large pass-through opening provides additional cargo space.

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