THE RIDE: Two-door, four-passenger 2008 Volkswagen EOS 2.0T hardtop convertible.
DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2007, the front-wheel-drive EOS is a boon for open-air motoring enthusiasts. It takes just 25 seconds for the fully automatic retractable hardtop to do the job. Zero to 60 mph is a meager 7.4 seconds in a car that exhibits excellent balance and impressive handling and stability.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder turbocharged engine develops 200 horsepower at 5100 rpm and 207 pounds-feet of torque at 1800 rpm. Mated to a 6-speed manual or the optional 6-speed automatic ($1,075) transmission, the EOS is equipped with a razor-sharp electro-mechanical power steering system. Handling the front suspension is a MacPherson strut while a fully-independent four-link type takes up the rear. Both get stabilizer bars to prevent a tip over. Stopping abilities equally are good as the car's acceleration, thanks to 12.3-inch vented front and 11-inch rear solid disc brakes.
LOOK & FEEL: A chrome-slathered grille and black louvers are nicely tucked in between halogen headlights with clear lens. LED tail lamps, dual exhaust outlets and body-colored door handles, side moldings and bumpers further enhance the convertible's visual appeal. A panoramic sunroof comes along with the automatic retractable roof in the striking vehicle. The four-pod analog instrument panel with digital readouts for the trip computer (compass, time and outside temperature) looks attractive and clean. Chrome around A/C vents and sprinkles of metallic trim on the dashboard appear graceful. Also noteworthy is leather on the three-spoke steering wheel, shifter knob and brake handle. Apart from standard 12-way power driver and eight-way manual passenger seats are ambient lights, rear seat with pass-through and storage and front and rear power windows and cup holders and dual-zone automatic climate control.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, traction control, antiskid system, three-point safety belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Stability Program, automatic rollover bar, limited slip differential, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $30,110, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The $3,490 luxury package will get you a leather-wrapped steering wheel and comfort seats, 6-disc in-dash CD changer and a 12-way power passenger seat, among other amenities.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 215/55 HR16 all season; wheelbase, 101.5 inches; length, 173.5 inches; weight, 3,505 pounds; fuel capacity, 14.5 gallons; highway, 31 mpg; city, 23 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Hardtop convertible lovers, your ride has arrived. Open-air motoring fans will take an instant liking to the VW EOS, which despite a small engine, is an enjoyable and energetic car to drive. Go for the Paprika Red exterior color and a corn silk beige interior for added appeal.