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BMW 125i and VW Golf GTI Cabrio in the test: question of character

Achim Hartmann
BMW 125i Cabrio and VW Golf GTI Cabrio in the test
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S ascha Hehn was unfortunately closed early on for the VW Golf GTI convertible - he, the sun boy of the Black Forest Clinic Glottertal. Trademark: the elegant leap over the door rail of his white VW Golf Cabriolet. Goose bumps? Well, that's how they were, the eighties. When the Golf Cabrio had a bracket and sometimes a GLI version, but no GTI. Times have changed: Sascha Hehn no longer practices, the open VW dispenses with the handle, instead attracts with coherent GTI folklore and a turbo-charged two-liter four-cylinder that sends 210 hp to the front wheels.

Two-liter -Four cylinder, turbocharger, front wheel drive? The first-generation BMW 125i Convertible may have all sorts of things, but that doesn't get under the sheet. At least not in this model, the guardian of the grail of the in-line six-cylinder vacuum cleaner, the memorial that the strategists heartlessly knock off the pedestal on the altar of CO2 reduction and NEDC optimization.

VW Golf GTI Cabrio is topless in nine seconds

No more complaints, let's optimize our own CO2 consumption. Into the two four-seater and convertible tops. Jamming of the bow is a thing of the past, at VW and BMW it runs electro-hydraulically as if by itself. The VW Golf GTI Cabrio is topless in nine seconds - faster than some Wörthersee mermaids. The BMW takes more time (22 seconds), but the number runs up to 40 km /h (with the VW up to 30 km /h). Practical for everyone who wants to savor the last moment before the shower.

Who would blame them? After all, the BMW 1 Series Convertible, with its windshield that is not too flat, saves the classic convertible feeling in a time when the difference between open and closed driving can only be seen from the outside. The VW Golf Cabrio tends in the softie direction, but the flatter windshield suits it so well that even connoisseurs believe in more profound bodywork operations.

Corners and edges? You understand that better anywhere else than in Wolfsburg. The VW Golf GTI Cabrio also hugs you like a favorite pair of jeans - not just because of the famous sports seats with a checkered pattern (standard, oh what: mandatory). The operation is learned and except for the sometimes cumbersome infotainment with touchscreen exemplary, storage options and behavior are impeccable.

BMW 125i convertible with an intense old-school aroma

Nothing with a wild dog, the GTI is still considered mother-in-law's favorite, only that it has been working on its punch The sprint to 100 is ticked off after 7.5 seconds, in curves the chassis with multi-link rear axle, the electro-technical steering and, depending on the driving situation, the electronic differential lock simulation combine to form a brisk whole.

The duels are over Today such a BMW 1 Series first understeers before it can be persuaded into rear activity with a lot of persuasion using the accelerator pedal. That was still different in the days of the Black Forest Clinic - back when we pressed our noses flat in the face at the BMW shop window a 325i convertible, dolphin gray, black leather, 170 hp. A dream that somehow lives on in the form of the similarly proportioned BMW 125i convertible. One thing is clear: since the appearance of the second generation of 1 The quasi-leftover convertible unfolds an even more intense old-school aroma.

Anyone who starts to argue with this in-line six-cylinder engine in terms of engineering (worse filling than turbo, higher mechanical friction than two-liter etc.) or the elasticity measurement values ​​heartlessly with those of the VW Golf GTI compares, this engine simply didn't deserve it. For all those for whom an engine cannot be mounted lengthways enough, who consider braking eco-modes to be absurd with a powerful three-liter engine and who consider turbochargers to be unnecessary breathing. They praise the smooth start of the BMW 125i Cabrio, which with its harmonious power delivery and six-cylinder melody invites you to take a quick breath - without twisting the steering.

VW Golf GTI Cabrio gets straight to the point in corners

Nevertheless: respect to the VW people, who managed to largely mechanically reduce drive influences and take care of the rest of the electronics to let. In addition, the sporty VW Golf GTI Cabrio gets straight to the point without crippling understeer in curves, remains neutral, reaches low-stress speeds that make the delicate ones reach for a spit bag rather than a silk scarf. The silk scarf can be dispensed with at all, and when the side windows are raised you can almost save yourself the wind deflector.

In the BMW 125i Convertible, things are a bit more authentic: close to the body at the front, narrow in the rear. Passengers there also receive a head nut when opening and closing the top. The chassis is also a bit drier, the body is shakier and more creaky on the dashboard than the stiffer, relatively comfortable VW Golf GTI convertible with its optional adaptive dampers. Except for dry bumps when driving slowly - for example on manhole covers - its suspension works carefully for GTI standards. In keeping with the rather soft character with smooth steering and smoothly shiftable gearbox, the BMW has the tighter steering and a more gristly oneOpposite gearshift feel.

Anyone who demands exactly this character and, adjusted for equipment, can invest almost 10,000 euros more, can confidently choose the BMW 125i Convertible. Objectively, however, there is more to be said for the well-equipped, balanced, dynamic open-air GTI.


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