If the new Golf GTI Cabriolet has already gone sale in Europe, what could Volkswagen be possibly testing with this undisguised prototype model?
Well, we believe that what we are looking at here is a test car for the upcoming production Golf R Cabriolet that was previewed as a concept last year.
This prototype model features the same styling cues and parts as the GTI Cabriolet in all areas except for the larger and distinctly styled five-spoke alloy wheels and the much larger disc brakes up front (see the GTI's brakes in photo No18 here).
If VW is indeed getting ready to introduce a production model, it will feature the same front bumper with larger air vents and horizontal LEDs daytime strip lights, and rear bumper with a diffuser and centrally mounted twin tail pipes as the Golf R Convertible study and hatchback models.
Power, of course, will come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 267hp (270PS), likely linked to VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Last year, VW had revealed that the Golf R Cabriolet study could go from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in under 6 seconds and top out at 250km/h (155mph).
So if Volkswagen is planning to release a Golf R Cabriolet, when could we see it?
Given that the regular versions of the Golf Mk7 are to be launched at the Paris Motor Show in September, the current Mk6 R model should remain in the market for another year or so before it is replaced by a new model.
That said, we could see the R Cabriolet being introduced as early as this fall in Paris or perhaps at another international motor show in the coming months.