First 2012 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Rolls Off Production Line

Spring officially starts this weekend, and just in time Volkswagen has begun production of its newest drop top. The German automaker announced today that it has officially commenced production of the 2012 Golf Cabriolet.

Volkswagen hasn’t offered a cabriolet variant of its popular Golf model since 2003 — two generations ago. Filling the gap since then has been the slightly upscale Eos and retro-chic New Beetle Convertible, but both were aimed at different target markets, a hole has remained in the VW lineup.

Although largely resembling the two-door Golf, VW took steps to give the Cabriolet its own flavor. A slightly revised front fascia and steeper windshield rake offset the drop top from its hatchback sibling. Unlike the staple appearance of prior cabriolets, VW removed the fixed roll bar and replaced it with units that automatically deploy in the event of a roll over. European customers will have the choice from the same array engine options as the Golf hatchback, all I-4s ranging in displacement from 1.2 to 2.0-liter in both gasoline and diesel.

Rolling off the Onsabruck production line first was a model painted Sunset Red. By the end of the year VW will have invested some $420 million into the plant in preparation for the new model. With an annual capacity of 100,000 units, the Osnabruck facility has the ability to produce Porsche Boxter and Cayman models should demand require it.

VW has no plans to bring the Golf Cabriolet to the U.S., as it will focus its efforts on the 2012 New Beetle Convertible. Do you agree with VW’s plan for the Beetle to be its sole soft-top U.S. offering, or do you think it should offer the Golf Cabriolet too? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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