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Eos First Drive Impressions – VWvortex

Well Lufthansa has wireless broadband on their overseas flights and it rocks…

I’m over the Atlantic just south of Greenland on my way back from Greece where Volkswagen is doing the the international press launch of the Eos – over 1,000 journalists from around the world are coming through over a four week period.

The Eos has turned out very nice – we drove German-spec production cars. The car, particularly with the top up is extremely solid and extraordinarily quiet. You would never know this was a convertible with the top up as there are no squeeks, rattles, shakes or bangs from all the roof pieces – and Greece has some truly awful roads that make Detroit roads look like butter smooth pavement. Plus it looks pretty good with the top up giving a decent impression of a coupe without sacrificing too much of an odd rear roof line more common to convertibles.

Unique to the Eos folding hardtop is a sunroof that is huge by sunroof standards and includes a sliding shade inside the car. Because the sunroof opens at the edge of the top of the winshield quite a bit farther forward than most cars, there is a wind deflector that pops up that is about an 1 3/4 inches tall and has some screening – it effectively blocks nearly all the wind noise and prevents any buffeting.

With the top down the Eos exhibits a bit more cowl shake than with the top up, but having recently driven the Volvo C70 I don’t think it is any worse than any other convertible considering some of the really harsh roads we drove on. That said the handling on the cars we drove was very compliant, but still controlled with minimal body roll and little dive and squat – in fact I think it handles better than the stock Jetta which isn’t too shabby for this type of car. At the limits the car will push into understeer and if you lift the rear end seems to want to swing wide a bit, particularly when the roof is down and stowed in the trunk. I asked some VW engineers to look into weight balance front vs. rear with the top up and top down. ESP reigns any wild tendencies in, but with it turned off, the Eos can be coaxed to do some interesting things. I’d like to put a sticky set of rubber with bigger wheels on it to really see. The car we drove had 17″ wheels with all-season high-performance tires. The 17″ wheels look like 16″ wheels on this car and 18″ wheels start to look more “normal” to my eye.

The interior is very well done and my favorite among the Golf/Jetta/Passat models. VW had a wide variety of interior trim options from aluminum to wood to different leathers including a red wine color that looked really good with silver. The cars we drove were German-spec cars but they at least provided us with the 2.0T model which the U.S. will get. The 3.2l VR6 comes later. The 2.0T has no problem moving this car and final U.S. weight specs aren’t out yet.

Pricing will start at $27,990 with a manual six-speed 2.0T in a base package. The 3.2l VR6 which comes pretty well equipped will start at $36, 850. A sport package will be available on both the 2.0T and the 3.2l models that includes 18″ wheels, sport suspension, aluminum trim, leather 12-way power sport seats and more. Fully optioned, the V6 model will be just a tad over $40k. To be honest, I’d save the money and go with the 2.0T unless you’re really hard up for the VR6 sound. Dealers will get a few cars in July for people to drive and should be more widely available at the end of July beginning of August (likely sooner though).

Overall the Eos is very well done and has a lot of innovative features, top shelf trim and components and is a lot of fun to drive. While taking pictures on the side of the road a German 3-series convertible driver pulled over to look at the car, he asked me to raise and lower the roof, sat in it and said it is a nicer car than his BMW. Granted German’s aren’t as hung up on badges as we are here in the U.S. so take it for what its worth.

I’ll have more complete details in a full writeup in the next few days. Overall pretty damn cool. Feel free to fire off any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

– jamie

– VWvortex Forums

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