Remember that hot little Golf R Cabriolet concept Volkswagen showed to a captive audience of GTI fans at last year’s Worthersee festival in Austria? It’s apparently heading for production, although you still won’t be able to buy one here in North America.
To celebrate the launch of its new Golf VI Cabrio in 2011, Volkswagen showed both GTI Cabrio and Golf R Cabrio concepts at its annual Worthersee fanfest. The GTI Cabrio was later confirmed for production, but the Golf R Cabriolet remained a mystery – although a number of sources now say series production is imminent.
Several European news outlets, including Autocar and AutoExpress, now say sources within Volkswagen have confirmed the convertible Golf R has been greenlit for production. There’s no release to be found anywhere on Volkswagen’s press page, but the company’s YouTube channel recently published a video showing the Golf R Cabriolet playing cat-and-mouse with a single-seat aircraft. That’s not exactly an outright confirmation – nor is the caption, which references the “new Golf R Cabriolet” – but it would be odd for Volkswagen to suddenly promote a year-old concept car if it weren’t interested in building some for public consumption.
If these claims of production ring true, expect the Golf R Cabriolet to mimic its Golf R three- and five-door hatchbacks siblings in most ways. Power should come from a 270-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, which could be mated with either a six-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual (both transmissions are available in European Golf R models, while U.S.-spec cars are restricted to the manual). The Cabriolet allegedly eschews the hatchback’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system in favor of a less-sophisticated front-wheel-drive layout. We wouldn’t be surprised if VW simply found it too expensive to re-engineer the Golf Cabriolet’s reinforced bodyshell for a driven rear axle, given its volume should be quite limited.
Since Volkswagen is already ramping up production volumes of its all-new, seventh-generation Golf, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Golf R Cabriolet is something of a limited-edition celebration of the outgoing model – something similar to the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible. If that’s the case, don’t expect it to come here. The closest thing to this turbocharged, limited-edition Golf convertible is the 2013 Beetle Convertible 60’s Edition – a turbocharged, limited edition convertible that happens to ride on Golf mechanicals.