I know someone who bought a new Volkswagen Eos. She was the perfect match for what I’d wager was the target audience for the Volkswagen Eos. Attractive, forty-something, Gucci handbag, pair of Jackie Ohh shades surgically attached to the top of her head.
This lady was the Volkswagen marketing man’s dream. Out of your league, son, and don’t you forget it.
The Volkswagen Eos was fashionable for 15 minutes. That’s the thing with trendy cars. Fashions change, so today’s catwalk model is tomorrow’s Z-lister trying to remain relevant. Eos may have been the Greek goddess of the dawn, but the sun was quick to set on this topless wonder.
Not that the Volkswagen Eos forced you to remove your top. Central to its appeal was an ability to switch from coupé to cabriolet, and back again, whenever your mood, or more likely the weather, changed. The transformation took 25 seconds. Enough time to ensure the lunchtime Pinot Grigio Rosé drinkers spotted you through the window as you left the trendy wine bar.
Volkswagen called the Eos a CSC, or Coupé Sunroof Cabriolet, but others didn’t. The Webasto-designed five-piece folding metal roof included a slide/tilt glass sunroof, so you could enjoy some fresh air without going totally topless.
Webasto – a company most famous for its sunroofs – spent €34 million on a factory near VW’s Autoeuropa factory to produce the roof for the Eos. The company’s Helmut Leube said: “It was our first convertible for Volkswagen. We’ve been in the roof-systems business for just a few years. An exacting roof design had to be realised, and it involved managing a factory start-up in Portugal.”
Predictably, Volkswagen went full marketing speak with the brochure copy. “Imagine driving open-top through the darkness on a summer evening with the stars above you. Feeling the exhilaration of speed as the wind sweeps over you. Seeing, hearing, smelling the world around with with a fresh intensity.
“Enjoying the seasons as never before. Being at one with the elements. Drive the Volkswagen Eos, and classic coupé combines with sporty cabriolet, giving you the best of both worlds. Never again will you have to choose between them. Never before has driving been such fun.”
Actually, it wouldn’t be long before you’d have to choose between coupé or cabriolet. Permanently. For all its origami theatre, the folding roof was let down by poor seals. At best, you’d discover a puddle in the footwells or boot. At worst, the water could wreck the hydraulic mechanism.
Scouring the classifieds at the cheap end of the market reveals two types of Volkswagen Eos. One with the roof issues fixed, the other with the roof issues still present. DPF problems aren’t uncommon – Coupé Sunroof Cabriolet might be great for low-speed cruising, but posing and particulate filters don’t make for happy bedfellows.
The 2.0-litre petrol from the Golf GTI would have been a wise choice. Better still, the 3.2-litre V6 best known for powering the Golf R32. Mixing a 250hp V6 petrol engine with a relatively heavy coupe-cabriolet was as optimistic as the claimed 30.7mpg. Still, it’s the Eos you’d want to buy in 2021.
There’s one for sale and it comes complete with tart’s boudoir Deep Red Nappa leather. The top speed of 153mph looks good on paper, but you’ll almost certainly need the optional wind deflector. The 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds is a little disappointing, not least because it’s just half a second quicker than the 200hp version of the 2.0-litre petrol.
Then again, the Volkswagen Eos was designed for for ladies and gentlemen who do lunch. For people who take calls about marketing budgets on their Bluetooth headset. Curiously, although the Eos featured a telephone control button on the steering wheel, the function didn’t work in the UK.
Is the Volkswagen Eos an odd choice to feature on the tatty and grubby pages of PetrolBlog? Perhaps, but it’s an acknowledgement that the car appears to have slipped off the radar. It tumbled into bangerdom without anyone noticing. Just a grand gets you a 2006 model, albeit one that’s more coupé than coupé-cabriolet.
You’ll pay a lot more for a later car with redesigned weather seals and a lingering whiff of Chanel No.5, but where’s the fun in that?
Forget Volkswagen’s claim about ‘driving fun’, because the Eos always felt better in a straight line. It’s also worth grabbing a large pinch of salt before believing that the Eos features “four generous seats [that] accommodate four adults with ease, with plenty of legroom for those in the back”.
If the adults you know make Danny DeVito look like Peter Crouch, go right ahead. The back’s fine for adults you don’t like, but anything beyond the trip from Café Rogue to marketing meeting would be a struggle. You’re better off utilising the back seats for some much needed extra boot space.
So, Volkswagen Eos: yes or no. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.