Among the attractions of the Frankfurt Motor Show was Karmann’s VW Polo GTI Cabrio looking suspiciously close to production.
Karmann are a coachbuilder who specialise in building convertible versions of larger manufacturers cars. They are famed for producing the original VW Beetle Convertible and more recently built the Volkswagen Golf Convertible as well as developing many innovative designs (including the Mercedes-Benz SLK retractable hardtop) and components for global manufacturers.
The Polo Convertible concept has several innovative features including a glass sliding roof, an illuminated internal headliner, foldable back seats and a wide-opening tailgate are the highlights. But what really sets this car apart from the current crop of small convertibles is it’s cavernous and useable interior space.
The principal feature of the innovative flexibility incorporated in this convertible is the Cabrio Overhead Protection System (COPS). The rollover bar does more than just provide occupants with highly effective protection in the event of the car rolling over. COPS means the manufacturers have also been able to get rid of cumbersome body structures with their rigid rear bench seats and small tailgates which have prevented the seats from being folded down in the past. The soft top with z-folding fabric roof comes without soft top box lid and linkage flaps. The top of the roof replaces the soft top cover. The soft top is optimized by the largest possible interior. A deep trunk sill and in particular the innovative rear window mechanism create an unusually large luggage area opening.
“The fabric cover has real advantages compared to the fixed folding roofs,” says Peter Harbig, Chairman of the Board of Management. Less weight means less fuel consumption. The reduced space requirements for cover storage means there is a greater trunk volume. The soft top also leaves considerably more room for new designs. Harbig: “We are looking forward to seeing the public’s reaction in Frankfurt.”