Volkswagen has officially revealed the Mk6 Golf's swansong: the production-ready Golf R Cabriolet. First seen at the 2011's Worthersee enthusiast show, the new Golf R Cabriolet packs the same 266bhp engine as its hard-top sister, but loses its all-wheel drive underpinnings. It's now a front-driver, like a regular Golf GTI.
What are the VW Golf R Cabriolet's performance specs?
The Golf R Cabriolet gets to 62mph in 6.4sec – that's seven-tenths slower than the regular Golf R hatchback. All Golf Rs use a slightly uprated version of the Scirocco R's 261bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, so you can thank the extra heft of the soft-top's stiffened structure, and its front-wheel drive set-up, for its slower acceleration. The top speed remains electronically limited to 155mph.
Why has VW binned all-wheel drive for the Golf R Cabriolet?
It simply wouldn't fit: VW wanted to retain all-paw traction, but the Cabriolet's stiffening struts would've obstructed the rear driveshafts. Still, it's probably for the best. A regular Golf Cabriolet weighs 140kg more than a standard Golf hatch: CAR understands Golf R Cabriolet engineered for AWD would've been around 300kg heavier than a hatchback. Crikey.
What modifications have been made to the VW Golf R Cabriolet?
The Golf R soft-top rides 25mm lower than a regular Golf Cabriolet, on 18-inch alloys as standard – 19-inch rims are optional, and you can spec black-painted wheels to match the gloss black grilles, mirrors and brake callipers.
The flared bumpers and twin exhausts are carried over unchanged from the Golf R hatchback. Inside it's familiar Mk6 Golf, albeit sprinkled with 'R' trinketry: spot the aluminium pedals, leather seats and contrasting grey stitching. The canvas roof folds away in 9.5sec at speeds of up to 18mph.
How much does all this cost?
Deep breath: the Golf R Cabriolet starts at £38,770. That's £7000 more than a Golf R hatch, and £9305 pricier than a 208bhp Golf GTI Cabriolet. Granted, the R Cabriolet comes fitted with a six-speed DSG gearbox (a £1355 option on a regular Golf R), and goodies like Bluetooth and a DAB radio are standard, but it's still awfully close to full-on drop-top sports car money. A new Porsche Boxster is yours for £1100 less – what price a pair a back seats?
The VW Golf R Cabriolet goes on sale in the UK in spring 2013.
>> To read CAR's extensive review of the new 2013 VW Golf Mk7, click here.