Volkswagen currently sells a convertible version of its Golf hatchback overseas and now the compact drop-top comes in GTI performance flavor too.

Today, the wraps have come off the new Golf GTI Convertible, just days ahead of the car’s official world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

The latest addition to the Volkswagen lineup packs in all the performance of the GTI hatchback, and adds the pleasures of open-top driving for four, thanks to an electrically powered fabric roof that can be folded away in just 9.5 seconds, even while traveling at speeds of up to 18 mph.

Visually, the Golf GTI Convertible has all the classic GTI design cues, as well as some items from last year’s striking concept version. The radiator grille has a honeycomb structure with red edging and the GTI badge, while the front bumper incorporates a deep honeycomb air dam and distinctive vertical fog lights.

Side sill extensions help give the GTI a wide, well-planted stance, while a bespoke rear diffuser is framed by a chrome tailpipe on either side.  Smoked LED tail-lamps complete the look.  As on the GTI hatchback, standard wheels are 17-inch ‘Monza’ alloys.

Also like the hatch, the Golf GTI Convertible features a familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 207 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It can be matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed dual-clutch DSG, and with the latter option it will sprint from 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 146 mph. GTI fans will note that the acceleration figure is 0.4 of a second off the pace of the hatch.

Bring front-wheel-drive only, a standard EDS electronic differential lock and XDS transverse differential lock help to ensure that the power is easily transferred to the road.

Inside, the seats are covered in classic tartan ‘Jacara’ cloth upholstery (‘Vienna’ leather upholstery is optional). The hood lining and roof pillar trims are all finished in black.

Unfortunately, with Volkswagen choosing not to offer the latest Golf Convertible in the U.S., it’s highly unlikely that a limited run of Golf GTI Convertibles would be. European sales start in the second half of the year.