Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet GLI Series 1 Film: the alternative to the GTI

Published on Monday, February 4, 2019.
Updated on Friday, December 13, 2019.

In 1974, Volkswagen disrupted the applecart with the introduction of its small, modern and desirable Golf, designed by Giugiaro, by which managing to breakout of its culture of ‘all in the back’: the little Golf in modern dress with front wheel drive, ensured the German brand’s future.

In 1976, the Wolfsburg based manufacturer gave a boost to the market for small sportscars thanks to the introduction of the GTI, which left the competition in the dust: easy to drive, agile and powerful, it quickly became the choice of predilection of young urban professionals of the time, drawing the competition in its wake, including Peugeot, with its 205 GTI, trying to capture some market share.

(The film is in French but English subtitles are available)

In 1979, Volkswagen offered a new version to its sporty compact: a cabriolet version, manufactured by Karmann.  Once again, the brand was creating a new market, with the US in its sights. Again, competition would follow the example of Volkswagen (Peugeot 205 CJ or CTI, Ford Escort Convertible).

Volkswagen revives the compact convertible market

In its GLI version, the Golf Cabriolet received the same 4-cylindre, 1.8-litre (first with 110 hp, and then 112 hp) as the Golf GTI.  Less sought after than the little sports coupé, the GLI does not lack however attractive attributes: a nervous and alert engine, a successful chassis, and its rigidity preserved thanks to an arching roll bar – a solution that all of its competitors would also adopt (Talbot Samba Cabriolet, Peugeot 205, Ford Escort).

The Golf Cabriolet GLI (Series 1 and Series 2) remained in production until 1993 and the launch of a new cabriolet based on the Golf 3.

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Caractéristiques techniques


Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet GLI

1979 - 1993


Engine 4 cylindres en ligne
Cubic capacity 1 781 cc
Alimentation Injection Bosch K-Jetronic
Engine power 112 ch à 5 500 trs/min
Engine torque 157 Nm à 3 100 trs/min


Length 3 820 mm
Width 1 630 mm
Height 1 400 mm
Weight 945 kg


Drive wheels Avant
Gearbox BMV à 5 rapports


Maximum speed 173 km/h
0-100 km/h
Total production 388 522 ex (tous cabriolets confondus)


Average price (LVA) 8 500 euros

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