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Death of the Golf convertible: new VW T-Roc cabriolet kills off soft-top supermini

By Paul Connolly

It’s been around for 40 years, but it looks like the Volkswagen Golf convertible has finally met its doom.

The formal launch this week of the new VW T-Roc Cabriolet is the final nail in the coffin of the soft-top Golf.

Which is a bit of a shame since it’s been around since launch in 1979, usually packing the same engines and kit as the standard Golf, only with a folding roof to let the sunshine in.

(Fun fact: did you know the UK and Ireland have amongst the highest convertible ownership rates in Europe, even though both countries have the highest rainfall and lowest sunshine?)

VW hasn’t made a Golf Cabriolet for years, concentrating instead on the rather nice but under-appreciated VW Eos model and a Beetle cabriolet, both discontinued in recent times.

But Golf fans hoping for the resurrection of the convertible now have to accept that the new T-Roc cabriolet all but kills off any prospect of a new convertible Golf.

The chunky body and muscular stance of the T-Roc cabriolet don’t just suit the modern market, they make more sense as an offering.

A drop-top modern crossover is the kind of niche product with potential that makes car manufacturer executive salivate: a blend of the new and the funky.

So in a world where SUVs and crossovers are king, the T-Roc cabriolet was officially unveiled this week as a near-production car, which means it’s just about to be manufactured in large numbers.

The open-top version expands the T-Roc range, adding more choice to the SUV market.

The new cabriolet will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September with the full launch in the spring.

Claiming to be the first crossover cabriolet in the compact class, the T-Roc aims to offer the right combination of design flair, raised seating and unique convertible driving experience.

The T-Roc Cabriolet’s fully automatic roof opens in nine seconds and can open and close while the car is in motion, at speeds of up to 30 km/h.

There is roll-over protection to protect passengers in the event of a crash or significant vehicle tilt.

The system springs upwards in the area of the rear headrests within a fraction of a second of the vehicle entering the danger zone.

VW says they are equipping the T-Roc cabriolet with the latest kit. This includes

the next-generation Infotainment system (MIB3), which means the Cabriolet can be permanently online – although you’ll have to pay for that as it’s an optional extra.

Information is displayed on the screen, which measures up to 8 inches. When this is used in combination with the optionally available Active Info Display, with its 11.7-inch screen, a completely digital cockpit landscape can be created.

Trim levels are familiar. The cabriolet comes in at the higher level of T-Roc variants, with owners choosing between the ‘Style’ and ‘R-Line’ equipment lines.

Style spec focuses on design and individual flair. R-Line spec is sports-oriented and incorporates the contents of the R-Line exterior and interior packages, which are offered as options for the T-Roc, as fixed elements.

There are two petrol turbo engines available with an output of 85 kW / 115 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS respectively. The cars are front-wheel drive.

A manual six-speed gearbox comes as standard in conjunction with the 1.0 three-cylinder engine with an output of 85 kW; for the more powerful 1.5 four-cylinder engine the output is 110 kW. A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is also available as an option.

There’s no word on exactly when the T-Roc cabriolet will be on sale, but we’d expect circa spring next year. The price is likely to be in the £24k - £27k range.

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