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by Ryan Broadfoot
 
If Al Gore is to be believed, then the humble car is to blame for all this ‘Global Warming' business. And while we should all be at home with our chemistry sets discovering new ways to run our cars on leftovers, I'd far rather be outside enjoying the warm. And to make the most of it, I'll need a convertible.

Now, convertibles have always had an Achilles heel. Most convertibles start out life as a coupe. This then gets its head chopped off and becomes very wobbly. The engineers counteract the wobbliness with miles of additional welding making the car very heavy. Add a few motors and a folding roof and what you end up with is a lazy Dugong, rather than a breezy sports car. So the correct way to make a convertible would have to be to design it, literally, from the ground up. And that's exactly what Volkswagen has done with the Eos. For instance, the biggest problem with convertibles in general is the complete lack of boot space with the roof down. To show the lengths Volkswagen have gone to, they have actually designed their own luggage, in the form of 2 elongated suitcases, which fit perfectly under the folded-down roof, utilising every available ounce of storage space.

The Eos, based on Volkswagen's Concept C, adds a new dimension to the Volkswagen family and looks like a younger cousin to the much larger Phaeton. It has the same signature V-shaped grill present throughout the Volkswagen range and the styling is euro-elegant, front to back. The Eos has an aggressive stance, thanks to a wider than normal wheel base of 1.55 meters. This improves the handling and makes the open-top a safer car to drive. Inside layout is typical Volkswagen, with an aesthetically pleasing finish.
 
All the peripherals are exactly where you'd expect to find them and every piece feels well made with the quality touch we've come to expect from Volkswagen. The Eos is the first car in the world to feature a five section hard top with an integrated sliding and tilting glass roof. Designed with the help of Webasto, the sunroof can be tilted or slid open; or the entire roof dispatched neatly into the boot in a respectable 25 seconds, using a stylish switch located in the centre console. All four windows can be easily operated simultaneously or independently, using the controls on the driver's door. With the roof up, the Eos is as quiet as an Oxford library with wind noise only becoming vaguely noticeable at motorway speeds.

Driving the Eos with the top down is very pleasant, with the front passengers able to have a normal conversation without raising their voices. Wind turbulence in the front is minimal and there is a wind deflector that can be opened and closed to improve the wind buffeting at the back.

Our test Eos was powered by the same magnificent 2.0 litre, turbo charged, 4-cylinder engine found in the Golf GTi. Developing 147kW and 280Nm of torque, this brilliant power plant gets the Eos from standstill to 100km/h in an impressive 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 229 km/h. Coupled to this is Volkswagen's spectacular twin-clutch DSG gearbox. This gives the Eos a fantastically smooth ride, keeping your consumption down when you're just cruising, and lightning fast gear-changes when you're not. The ride quality is better than you'd find in most other convertibles with a good compromise between comfort and handling. Convertible handling is almost never as good as their coupe counterparts however the Eos has done better than most, with the help of the rear multi-link independent suspension and the widened wheel track. The Eos exudes enough confidence to pull off the motorways and enjoy the scenic route instead.

Features in the Eos are plentiful. Dual- Airbags, central locking, ESP, cruise control, automatic headlights, climate control and CD sound system are all standard. The Eos comes standard with 17” wheels and 235/45 tyres with the option to go up to 18” wheels. Park Distance Control is also standard but there is a good reason for that. We found that because the boot lid opens out over 400mm past the rear bumper when operating the folding-roof, if the PDC detects any obstruction, it flashes a warning on the MFC Display and halts the operation.

In Australia, the VW Eos has almost no competition, with the closest being the Volvo C70 which is not as good looking, would depreciate faster and costs $18k more. Sure, all convertibles have their flaws. Getting into the Eos' back seats can be undignified and we wished we didn't have to hold down the roof switch the whole 25 seconds, but despite this, we were completely sold on the Eos. It's a truly fantastic car, offering as much as competitors' vehicles that cost twice as much. Priced at $52 290 the Eos is incredible value for money and with even a few add-ons falls just outside of the luxury tax threshold. So, what you're actually getting from the Eos is a hard top convertible for soft top money.

ENGINE:

Type

4 cyl inline turbo petrol

Installation

Front transverse

Fuel Supply

Bosch Motronic MED 9.1 FSI injection

Bore/Stroke

82.5 / 92.8

Cubic Capacity

1984

Compression Ratio

10.3:1

Fuel Type

Premium Unleaded (90 RON)

ENGINE OUTPUT:

Max Power ISO (kW)

147

Power Peak (r/min)

5100 - 6000

Red Line (r/min)

6500

Max Torque (Nm)

280

Torque Peak (r/min)

1800 - 5000

PERFORMANCE:

0 - 100 km/h (s)

7.9

Top Speed (km/h)

229

Fuel Consumption Combined (l/100km)

8.2

TRANSMISSION:

Forward Speeds

6

Drive

Front Wheel Drive

WHEELS AND TYRES:

Road wheels

17 x 17˝”

Tyre size

235x45 R17

BRAKES:

Front

Vented Discs

Rear

Solid Discs

Hydraulics

ABS, EBD, ESP

STEERING:

Type

Electro-mechanical power assisted rack & pinion steering

Turning circle (m)

10.9

SUSPENSION:

Front

Independent, MacPherson struts, Anti-roll bar

Rear

Independent, four-link with coil springs

DIMENSIONS:

Length (mm)

4407

Width (mm)

1791

Height (mm)

1443

Wheel Base (mm)

2578

CAPACITIES:

Seating

4

Fuel Tank

55

WARRANTY AND SERVICE INTERVALS:

3 Year / 100,000 km manufacturer warranty incl 24 hour Volkwagen Roadside Assist

 
 
 
 
Posted in lifestyle |
Posted by Ryan Broadfoot
28 Oct 2008



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