Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet: One Bitchin' Basket

Volkswagen's Golf Cabriolet has a history, in this country at least, mostly defined by the hormonal and angry field hockey players who drove them. Thanks to its roll hoop it earned a nickname used by countless high school and college kids: Bitch Basket. The new Golf GTI Cabriolet swaps the bitchy attitude for a bitchin' 200-horsepower turbo-four.

Last year brought the return of the hoop-less Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, which is a visual copy of the normal Golf sans-top. Now the new GTI Cabriolet mimics the hard-top GTI top-to-bottom. Ok, not top.

Starting at the roof there's the same "high-speed" electro-hydraulic cloth roof from the base Cabrio, which opens in 9.5 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 19 mph.

More importantly, the GTI gets all of the go-fast goodies. This includes the 2.0-liter TSFI turbo direct-injection fourbanger mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual clutch transmission. The relatively tiny 200-horsepower drop-top also gets the XDS transverse differential lock and EDS electronic diff.

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For true GTI fans there's also the "Jacky" tartan plaid interior — a retro touch that never goes out of style.

If you want one of these in the U.S.A. you're probably still S.O.L. The European-built VW is still more expensive than the comparable Beetle Turbo Convertible, which is as close any of us can get.