For the last 20 minutes I've had my foot buried in the new VW Eos. Its deep-lunged, 3.2-liter VR6 loves to run, and if a car could smile, I'd swear this one was grinning. I'm driving on the autoroute, the French equivalent of Germany's autobahn. Although they sound similar, the rules are different. The French are not big on unrestricted speeds and every few miles there's a posted limit. The sign says 130 kph but everyone goes faster; some a little, some a lot. And then there are the mathematically-challenged people, like me, who think kph is simply Euro-speak for mph. So for the last 60 miles I've been doing an indicated 135 mph (I figure five over is safe). And it's not reckless or dangerous either. The roads are perfect and fellow drivers heed the golden rule: the left lane is for high speed and overtaking.
If I get popped I'll just play the dumb American and point to the 130-kph marker and then point to the US-spec speedometer.
"But, monsieur... I was doing the posted speed."
And if that doesn't work, I'll just pay the fine on the spot (I'm pretty sure France is not in cahoots with the DMV). In any case, the new Eos is entirely up to the task; I can't remember having such an exhilarating drive.
Did I mention the Eos has a convertible top? It's a real trick piece of work too, a study in folded steel and hydrodynamics. Given this car's solid sport coupe-type performance, it's hard to believe it's got such a happy, sun-loving disposition.
Apparently my review of the 2.0T Eos was misunderstood by some readers. I said something to the effect of not liking convertibles. I should have said I don't like most convertibles. I don't like the loss of chassis rigidity and accompanying creaks and rattles that tend to be a part of the convertible bargain. I don't like wind noise or the rough edges we accept as part of the ragtop experience.
The Eos is unlike most convertibles--that's a very good thing. All the aforementioned nastiness won't be found here. It's sometimes hard to remember the car is a convertible at all. Its handsome profile is at ease with the top up or down, which begs the question: was the Eos originally designed as a hardtop with a folding roof or vice versa?
The Eos was introduced with VW's new 2.0T engine, a 200-bhp unit linked to the brilliant DSG transmission. For me, it was the perfect match; you'd be hard pressed to ask for more.
Well, Volkswagen thinks the Eos can be improved, specifically with its vaunted VR6. The narrow-angle engine develops 250 bhp and 235 lb-ft of torque and sports a broad power curve. Linked with the DSG trans and the re-tunedsuspension, it makes for a fun and fast, sun-loving autoroute stormer.
Volkswagen's attention to detail makes the Eos a particularly sweet piece. As the roof retracts, small side wings flare to accommodate the top's main retraction arms. Look closely at these wings and you'll notice clever sealing flanges that mesh perfectly with the remaining panels.
Twenty-five seconds later, the retracted roof is concealed with a smooth and totally sealed tonneau. For some people, an exposed gash is well worth 20 miles of headroom. The Eos offers a clean and elegant solution and 20 miles of headroom. And when the top is fully raised, it's virtually impossible to see any hint of convertibility.
The details continue inside with hidden floor lighting, an especially nice touch when looking for lost items. Rear passengers are treated to well-contoured seats and get their own ventilation; sitting in back is a viable option.
With a base price of $36,850, the Eos 3.2L is offered in two levels of trim: the Sport Package or the Technology Package. The former includes brushed aluminum trim, electronically controlled leather sport seats, sport suspension (stiffer shocks and larger anti-roll bars), 18-inch `Samarkand' alloys with 235/40 tires, and aluminum pedals.
The Technology Package includes the above and adds Park Distance Control (PDC), bi-xenon headlamps with the Adaptive Front Lighting System.
Other options include a terrific navigation system, iPod interface adapter and a 600-watt, 10-speaker Dynaudio Premium Sound System.
The Eos 3.2L is a tight package. For the money, it's quite possibly the best convertible of its kind. Actually, the Eos is the best convertible of its kind. A photo-radar ticket indicates I was going 129 mph. Not bad for a ragtop.
2007 Volkswagen EOS 3.2L
Transverse front engine, front-wheel drive
3.2-liter V6, dohc, four valves per cylinder
F: MacPherson concept with triangular wishbones, coil springs, shocks, anti-roll bar
R: Four-link independent with shocks, anti-roll bar, acoustically decoupled rear axle
Dual-circuit system with diagonal split, ABS, 12.3-in. vented front rotors, 11.3-in. solid rear rotors
Length x Width x Height (in.): 173.5 x 70.5 x 56.8
Wheelbase: 101.5 in.
Curb Weight: 3686 lb
Peak Power: 250 bhp @ 6300 rpm
Peak Torque: 235 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
0-62 mph: N/A
Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)
Why we love it:
Sporty demeanor, brilliant transmission, fit and finish
Why we don't:
Smallish trunk, poor colors make this car look frumpy (powder blue is particularly bad)
The Price Tag: $36,850