The VW Golf was the first premium hatchback, and to this day it’s still one of the best you can buy. Launched in 1979, with the Iron Lady still yet to move into Number Ten; forty years has done nothing to dent the Golf’s popular appeal.
Currently on its seventh generation, the Golf we know today still keeps the understated style, looks and upmarket image that have always been the key to its success.
Over the next few days we’ll look at each generation of the Golf, starting with the precocious offering that first roared into our live back in the mid seventies…
VW Golf Mk1 Cabriolet (1979 – 1993)
In 1976, the Golf GTi invented what we know as the hot hatch. It was a truly revolutionary vehicle. When the equally hot Cabriolet first went on sale in 1979, rival companies realised the first offering was no fluke and began desperately trying to come up with their own equivalents. Some were good, some not so much. Whatever they came up with, they were late to the party, with the Cabriolet trailblazing its way towards the 80s.
Despite being a slightly late addition to the range, the Cabriolet ended up outlasting the hatchback upon which it was based by almost ten years. Manufactured by Karmann, the four-seat version featured body strengthening, a transverse roll bar and enhanced trim.
The early versions of the Cabriolet had hoods that were manually operated, but they eventually evolved to automatic options. The GTi equivalent was known as the GLi until 1984, but was more ponderous and less rigid than the hatch. The high cost of constructing a Mk2 version saw the Mk1 continue until 1993. Missing a generation of Golf Cabriolet was something VW also did with the Mk3 and Mk4.