- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

For those who worship the sun and fresh air, what could provide a better experience than a fun-to-be-with topless Greek goddess possessing an attractive form with smooth, graceful lines? Sound far-fetched?

Read on, because Volkswagen has come up with a vehicle that boasts of all those qualities — it’s the Eos, a revolutionary retractable hardtop with a unique five-part roof structure that includes a sunroof as a bonus feature and there’s even a spring-loaded wind deflector mounted in the windshield header.

The coupelike convertible takes its name from Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn, and it’s built at Volkswagen’s Autoeuropa plant in Portugal.

Volkswagen will offer two versions of the Eos when it reaches U.S. showrooms: one will be powered by a 2.0-liter FSI turbo, 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, with a base price of $27,990 ; the other, with more emphasis on luxury than performance, will draw its motive force from a 3.2-liter, 250-horsepower example of VW’s narrow angle V-6, which begins pricing at $36,850.

Only the 2.0-liter four-banger was available for the test drive experience, but with its 200 horsepower, 207 foot-pounds of torque, 0-60 mph prowess of 6.4 seconds and governed top speed of 130 mph, it was certainly more than impressive. Transmission choices include the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the dual-clutch DSG direct-shift gearbox that operates in either an automatic or manual mode — it’s standard with the 3.2 V-6 engine and optionally available with the 2.0T FSI powerplant.

Eos is essentially a four-seater coupe whose five-section roof structure is capable of converting to a partial, or full open-air motoring mode in a matter of seconds (25 of them to be precise) at the mere touch of a special center-console-mounted switch. The innovative “drop-top” Eos arrives some 57 years after the original VW Beetle cabriolet. The roof structure, which is supplied by Webasto, is referred to as a CSC roof (for coupe/sliding/cabriolet).

Eos is attractive from any viewing angle, in its hardtop coupe configuration, with the sunroof open, or with top fully stowed, as an open convertible. There’s even room for some luggage in the latter configuration, with space enough to get at it without partially raising the top.

The overall form of the Eos is that of a wedge, with a stretched body ending in a high, short, compact deck.

The track is wide with wheel arches broader and more pronounced.

The grille and front end reflect the new, refined face of Volkswagen design, somewhat on the order of a smaller Passat.

In addition to all the normally expected technological safety features in a modern vehicle, the Eos provides rollover bars that pop up automatically, activated by a solenoid switch, triggered by the air-bag control unit.

The test Eos sported an exterior finish of Eismier Blau (Light Blue metallic) and was equipped with the DSG transmission, which added $3,075 right up front to the base price.

Other options included: Package No. 2 Sport Satellite with lots of goodies; Dynaudio premium sound system; DVD navigation system with CD changer; and the destination charge, which moved the total up close to the base sticker of the V-6.

The 2.0T with the DSG gearbox its performance focus, will no doubt be the preferred Eos version for genuine driving enthusiasts.

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