If you’re in the market for a quality German engineered convertible but without the exorbitant pricetags normally associated with such cars, then the 2011 Volkswagen Eos may be for you. It features niceties found in much more expensive cars like an all-season automated folding hard-top, leather trim, a sporty turbocharged engine and a trick dual clutch transmission, but lists from a reasonable $32,940.
That may seem like a lot for a compact Volkswagen, but for the asking price you do get a lot of features and technology.
Starting with the powertrain, the Eos’ turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is the same unit found in the high-performance GTI
and delivers a peak output of 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This engine can be matched to either a conventional six-speed manual transmission or an advanced six-speed dual clutch DSG.
This latter unit is an automated manual transmission that can have its gears shifted via a tiptronic style shifter. Not only does it shift a lot faster than the regular manual, around town it’s also more fuel efficient. The Eos equipped with the DSG returns a fuel economy of 22/29 mpg city/highway versus the manual model’s 21/31 mpg city/highway.
Drive is sent to the front wheels only but this doesn’t mean that the Eos doesn’t handle well--firm enough to power through tricky corners, planted in higher-speed sweepers, and remarkably secure-feeling for a front-driver. Dynamically it's no sports car, but with quick steering, strong, reassuring brakes, and the responsive dual clutch transmission, it feels very eager.
Inside, there’s 2+2 seating but the rear pews are only suitable for small children. When compared with hardtop convertible layouts--from rivals like the Volvo C70 and now defunct Chrysler Sebring--it doesn't get any better than this. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction to unlatch the roof from the windshield header and flip and fold it under the metal trunk lid.
Upmarket options include a Dynaudio sound system, hard-drive-based navigation with music storage and full leather trim.
Key rivals include the aforementioned Volvo C70 and Chrysler Sebring, as well as Volkswagen’s own New Beetle and even the Audi TT.
For the full review, including a detailed look at comfort, quality, features, styling, performance, and safety of the 2011 Volkswagen Eos, head over to TheCarConnection
. Note that a redesigned Eos is being introduced for the 2012 model year, you can read about this second-generation model by clicking here