Archive for February, 2011

In 1900, at the dawn of the 20th Century, long before there was the sports car company Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, a gifted young engineer named Ferdinand Porsche created the world’s first functional full-hybrid car.  It’s called the “Semper Vivus”  (always alive).

There are electric motors in those mammoth front hubs. It must have been quite an achievement to get the rear wheels driven by a gas engine synchronized with the front electric drive hubs.

Porsche wants the world to know that it has always been involved in  hybrid technology, even if it was almost 50 years before the Porsche sports car company was established after WWII.  The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart spent 4 years reviving the “always alive” car.  They must have spent a fortune, but when you’re talking about bragging rights, no price is too high.

Here is Porsche’s tease video in advance of the car’s unveiling at the Geneva Auto Show this week.


In case you hadn’t noticed, there has been a gaping hole in VW’s convertible lineup since the last 2002 VW Cabrio was sold in the US market. A decade later, VW intends to fill it.  With a new Beetle Convertible on the way at the low end and a freshly face-lifted Eos at the high end, VW did market research in Santa Monica, on the campuses of UCLA and USC and found that there is a whole new generation of young women looking for something in the middle.

2012 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

Look no further, your wishes have been granted. The new 2012 Golf Cabriolet will come late this year or early next year as a 2012 model.  Gone is the “basket handle” roll-over bar in favor of the pop-up system similar to that in the Eos.  The canvas top electrically drops in a cool 9.5 seconds and the operation can be done at up to 18 mph.

2002 Volkswagen Golf Cabrio. Note the "basket handle" roll over bar.

Europe gets choices of six gasoline and diesel engines. We will probably only get one, maybe two options here.

The old Golf Cabrio was definitely a “chick” car and Volkswagen knows its market.  The VW press photos show a group of hot young women all enjoying their new Golf Cabriolet – nary a drop of testosterone in sight.  Possibly a Darth Vader black on black model could work for some guys.

On the plus side, this is a Golf, not the crappy cheap Jetta foisted off on the American market, so it will likely be blessed with the quality interior and excellent driving dynamics of a Golf.  It remains to be seen how the loss of a roof and the inevitable weight gain common to all convertibles will affect the Golf’s inherent qualities.