The Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet is the fastest Golf convertible yet.
It comes loaded with kit, too, including bespoke styling upgrades, 18-inch alloys and a 25mm lower ride height than the regular Golf Cabriolet.
However, the £38,770 asking price is sure to scare off most buyers before they even reach the showroom, and that's without the optional sat-nav (£730).
To add to the R's problems, it isn't even based on the latest Golf platform; instead it uses the underpinnings from the previous, Mk6 car. So the Golf R Cabriolet isn't off to the best start, but how else does it stack up?
What's the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet like to drive?
It's certainly fast. The 261bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine fires it from 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds – nearly a second faster than the next-quickest Golf Cabrio, the GTI.
The standard DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox gives smooth and timely gearchanges (although we find the steering-wheel-mounted paddles best for enthusiast driving), and there's enough grip to ensure you're confident enough to exploit all the performance on offer.
The steering is quick, although it's unnecessarily heavy and you need to keep a firm grip on the wheel to stop it writhing under hard acceleration.
Our test car came with adaptive suspension, which won't be available on UK-bound cars. This lets you switch between 'Comfort', 'Normal' and 'Sport' modes, although the ride remained firm and jittery whichever setting we tried.
You can also feel the body flexing, which further unsettles the car on rough road surfaces.
What's the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet like inside?
The cabin is comfortable and well finished and, with the roof up, the R Cabriolet is refined enough to be your daily run-around.
The leather sports seats are supportive and there are some nice touches to show you're sitting in the range-topping R model, including blue needles on the dials, logos on the door sills, along with numerous aluminium and chrome highlights splashed around the cabin.
There are just two seats in the back, but they're roomy enough for adults, so the Golf Cabriolet is a genuine four-seater. There's also a useful 250 litres of boot space.
Standard equipment includes a colour touch-screen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, iPod connection, heated seats and climate control. However, with a near-£40k asking price, electric seats and sat-nav should really be standard.
Should I buy one?
The Golf R Cabriolet might have some appeal for a niche audience if it were reasonably priced. It's a useable and fast four-seat drop-top with half-decent fuel economy, even if it doesn't deliver the electrifying, sports car sensation you might hope for.
However, at nearly £40,000, it's sheer folly. This amount of money will get you a Porsche Boxster, which is a whole league above for driver reward and will hold on to its value far better.
If four seats are essential, then the Golf GTI Cabriolet does much the same job as the R; it's just as much fun to drive and is a lot cheaper to buy. The same can be said about the Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI. Of course, both cars are a second slower to 62mph than the R, but they're also around £9000 cheaper. Case closed.
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Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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