By Ronan Glon
Tuesday, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 2:45 pm
 
The iconic Golf GTI has been a part of the Volkswagen lineup for over 35 years, but it has only been offered as a three- and five-door hatchback.

That's all about to change: like Leftlane correctly predicted last June, VW has officially unveiled a GTI Cabriolet.

Aesthetically, the GTI Cabriolet is less aggressive than the concept car that Volkswagen displayed at the Worthersee Tour last year. The fender flares, the body kit, and the 19-inch rims all got tossed out of the window over the last several months.

Instead, the car heavily borrows styling cues from last year's Europe-only GTI 35 Edition. The bumpers, the headlights with a row of LEDs, and the rear air diffuser all come from the aforementioned special edition.

On the inside, the is no mistaking the GTI Cabriolet for a standard Golf Cabriolet. As tradition would have it, the seats are upholstered in Jacara tartan cloth, and red stitching on the steering wheel and the shift boot create a sporty atmosphere.

Volkswagen claims that the convertible top folds up or down at the push of a button in just 9.5 seconds. The operation can be executed with the car moving at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.

The GTI convertible is powered by the same engine that is bolted under the hood of the GTI hatchback. It is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 210 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a six-speed dual clutch DSG unit is available at an extra cost.

Although the two cars use the same engine, the GTI Cabriolet takes 7.3 seconds to hit 62 miles per hour from a stop. The hatchback version of it does the same trick in just 6.9 seconds.

Volkswagen will launch the GTI Cabriolet in Europe in the second half of the year. The German brand did not mention whether or not it will send the car to the United States, but sales here seem extremely unlikely since VW doesn't sell the Golf Cabriolet in this market.