Heavy metal hottie
After a 10-year hiatus, the topless Golf has returned to cruise the world's boulevards.
What is it?
It's the Golf VI we know and love, just minus the metal roof. In its place you get a dapper fabric drop top that stows out of sight in only 9.5-seconds.
Get hit by an unexpected rainstorm and it will rise silently back into place in 11-seconds and at speeds of up to 30km/h.
Normally this sort of automotive exhibitionism comes at the cost of interior refinement.
But Volkswagen clearly pumped a great deal of development time into finessing the Cabriolet's top-up driving manners.
Thanks to some sophisticated new door and window seals, not to mention that thickly insulated fabric hood, this VW has to be one of the quietest convertibles I have ever driven.
How does it look?
Well, apart from that fabric hood, pretty much on a par with any one of its tin-topped brothers.
Of course, there are one or two subtle styling differences, the most noticeable of which must be the extra-raked front windscreen.
Walk around to the rump of the Golf VI Cabriolet and you will also notice that it sports a new truncated rear end, which really helps when it's time to cram that fairly generous 250-litre boot with shopping bags or designer luggage.
Other than that, it's business as usual.
The same can be said for the interior.
For, other than the aluminium hood actuation switch, spliced neatly into the centre console, sitting inside the Cabriolet is like sitting inside a regular 1.4 TSI Highline.
Not really, but with such brilliant ergonomics and exceptional build quality, the lack of visual flair is easily forgiven.
Having said that, you do get a fair amount of standard kit thrown in gratis.
Regardless of what model you buy, things like cruise control, multi-function computer, hill-hold assist, an eight-speaker sound system and a multi-function steering wheel won't cost you a cent.
Of course, a long and tempting list of extras is available but, be warned: they will quickly raise the Golf Cabriolet's price tag into the ranks of the ridiculous.
What's it like to drive?
Once again the new Cabriolet just continues to impress.
Even though it doesn't have a real roof (something that can really play havoc with a car's handling characteristics), this ragtop romps with all the poise and accuracy that has long defined the Golf badge.
Not only is it fun to drive - the communicative steering and well-weighted controls coming to the fore - there's hardly any scuttle shake to be experienced when the roof is stowed - even on rough roads.
VW has achieved this by grafting in some pretty serious, military-grade body reinforcement.
Yep, park this Golf in front of a giant X-ray machine and you'll see things like an aluminium engine enclosure, a reinforced rear subframe joint and two diagonal chassis braces to help keep things extra stiff.
Normally, this has a rather negative impact on ride quality but the Cabriolet glided over the asphalt without any jitters whatsoever.
Top marks to the engineering department.
In fact the only real issue with this conversion from shopping trolley to Camps Bay cruiser is the increase in its kerb weight - a full 194kg.
Though it's not that noticeable in cars fitted with the (for now) range-topping 1.4 TSI 118kW engine, the entry level 1.4 TSI 90kW variant feels a bit like piloting a lazy hippo right after zoo feeding time.
Not only is its off-the-line acceleration stunted, but overtaking large vehicles out on the highway often requires more than two downshifts in order to avoid becoming a victim of a fiery head-on - and that's down at sea level.
I guess that the average poser could learn to live with this lack of grunt, but those who really enjoy driving - have a passion for it - should definitely cough up the extra R40600 for those 28 extra kilowatts.
Any special features?
Well for those who don't dig manuals (shame on you) a seven-speed double-clutch DSG gearbox is available as an option.
You can also spec Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running strips to up the menace ante just a little.
Finally, each Cabriolet comes fitted with something called automatic rollover protection that, as the name suggests, prevents your head from being bashed in when things all go horribly wrong.
Should you buy one?
If you have a penchant for small droptops then the Golf VI Cabriolet should certainly be pinging up on your radar.
For even though it may lack the straight-line oomph enjoyed by the rival BMW 1-Series Convertible and Audi A3 Cabriolet, its fluent ride and fine handling make for a pretty decent driving experience.
It is reasonably practical too, able to seat four adults and carry a reasonable amount of junk in that redesigned trunk.
But the biggest string in this new Volkswagen's bow has to be its refinement.
Whisper quiet with the roof up, it will certainly appeal to people who want the style of a convertible but none of the perceived pitfalls like wind and road noise.
Obviously this all comes at a price.
And in this case it makes words like "Golf," "open-air" and "affordability" further removed than they've ever been before.
Engine: 1390cc turbocharged and 1390cc twin-charged
Power: 90kW at 5000rpm; 118kW at 5800rpm*
Torque: 200Nm at 1500rpm; 240Nm at 1500rpm*
Top speed: 197km/h; 216km/h*
Fuel consumption: 6.4l/100km; 6.4l/100km* (claimed combined)
CO2: 149g/km; 150g/km*
Price: 1.4 TSI 90kW Manual R283400; 1.4 TSI 90kW DSG R297900; 1.4 TSI 118kW Manual R324000; 1.4 TSI 118kW DSG R338500
Class leading refinement
Great to drive
Well equipped interior
90kW engine is lazy
Expensive options list