Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet convertible (2013-2014)
"The Golf R cabriolet is about 90 per cent as much fun as the hatchback but it's outpriced by its rivals."
- Fast acceleration
- Lots of grip in corners
- Comfortable and quiet for long journeys
- Expensive compared to rivals
- Not as sharp as Golf R hatchback
- Expensive to run
The Volkswagen Golf R cabriolet is the fastest convertible that Volkswagen has ever produced and the first soft-top model to wear the ‘R’ badge, which designates the firm’s quickest and most performance-focused models. Unlike the Golf R hatchback, the cabriolet doesn’t get four-wheel drive, and is front-wheel drive only. It produces 261bh, can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and has a very stiff suspension set-up to maximise cornering ability. Volkswagen reduced the price of the Golf R Cabriolet as it was extremely expensive at launch, but it is unfortunately still slightly overpriced compared to its rivals.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The R cabriolet uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine but doesn’t get things like stop-start to boost the fuel economy figures. As a result, it has an official fuel economy figure of 34.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 190g/km. In reality, normal driving use will see fuel economy around the mid-20s and insurance costs that will be relatively high, too.
Engines, drive & performance
Interior & comfort
Practicality & boot space
There’s a pretty good amount of space in the back seats for tall passengers but the fact that it’s only a two-door model means access to the back seats can be difficult. The boot is a bit of an awkward shape and you can only fit two or three large bags in it as a result. There are handles in the boot, allowing you to fold down the rear seats if you need to carry larger items. Officially, Volkswagen says there’s 250 litres of space, but we think this would be hard to fulfil. The electric soft roof goes up and down at the touch of a button and takes around nine seconds to move into and out of place.
Reliability & safety
Both the platform that the Golf R cabriolet is built on and the engines it uses have been around for a good few years now without any major issues relating to reliability. It’s been awarded five stars for crash safety by Euro NCAP, too, with the safety body even marking it at 96 per cent for adult occupant protection. In the event of a rollover, two supporting struts shoot out from behind the rear seats to protect passengers.
Price, value for money & options
This is one area where the Golf R cabriolet will struggle to justify itself. The Golf R Cabriolet is about £3,100 more expensive than the Golf GTI Cabriolet, but you’ll still have to pay for extras like sat-nav and adaptive dampers. Thanks to a revised price the car is much more affordable than it was at launch but it's still hard to justify over the only slightly slower GTI Cabriolet. On the plus side, you do get a fully electric roof, full leather upholstery, an automatic gearbox and climate control all included in the price.