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by Tim Beissmann

The Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet is set to become the quickest and meanest VW convertible in history, with CarAdvice’s spy photographers snapping a prototype of the hard-core soft-top on public roads in Germany.

We got our first hint that Volkswagen was planning a Golf R Cabriolet 12 months ago when the German manufacturer unveiled the car in concept form at the 2011 Worthersee tuning show in Austria.

Like the Worthersee concept and the production Golf R hot-hatch, the Golf R Cabriolet will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 199kW and 350Nm, or 188kW/330Nm in ‘hot weather’ countries like Australia.

Drive will be sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission like the Golf R hatch.

Although this prototype features body panels and badges from existing Golf Cabriolet models, the larger brakes and alloy wheels confirm the bodywork hides the most powerful and sporty soft-top variant to date.

While not seen on this prototype, the production version of the Golf R Cabriolet will feature centrally positioned twin exhaust outlets like the hatch.

The Golf R Cabriolet is likely to act as a send-off for the Golf VI range, with the next-generation Golf VII due to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show in September. The current-generation Golf R may continue to be produced for some time into the lifecycle of the new Golf until a high-performance replacement is introduced.

The Golf R Cabriolet comes hot on the heels of the Golf GTI Cabriolet, which made its world premiere at the 2012 Geneva motor in March.

Volkswagen Australia is yet to confirm either model for our market.

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