Skip to main content

Could a possible Passat Cabriolet mean death to the Eos

The very first VW Eos retractable hardtop convertible debuted as the Concept C at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show - a mere year after the New Beetle Convertible made its mid-model season intro in 2003. As hard as that is to conceive, that was a decade ago.


Peter Schreyer, at the time, head of Volkswagen Design in Wolfsburg, was given credit for the Eos concept; however other sources attribute its originality to Robert Lešnik. Be that as it may, Schreyer is better known today as Kia Motors top designer, not to mention the father of the Audi TT concept.

The retractable hardtop became quite the rage during the last decade on luxury models like the BMW 3-Series (now 4-Series), Lexus IS and Infiniti G, as well as the now defunct Volvo C70, and the soon to follow Chrysler 200. Only two other models come to mind, which are the Mercedes E-class and Audi A5, though both of these cabriolets use a more traditional soft cloth top.

The Eos is by far the most minuscule of this group, and next to the Chrysler 200, the closest in price, but is outclassed as far as being considered anything in the mid-luxury segment. What has made the Eos so appealing is that it’s the only one of the bunch that offers an operable power glass sunroof. During its seven year run the Eos has remained a standalone model with its own unique sheet metal, although it shares platform architecture and components with the Golf Mk5.

While the Eos sold briskly at first, over the years it has lost a lot of its luster, due to its petite size and hefty price point, in addition to the lack of significant updating, Since the Beetle convertible is the decisive winner for open top dominancy, it’s clear that a change of direction is drastically needed. Although no official word has been made, the death of the Eos or its reincarnation could happen sooner than later.

While the rendering of the European-spec VW Passat Cabriolet featured here is not officially set for US production, it does hint what Volkswagen could do to continue the Eos’ heritage as well as reinvigorate the sales of its American-based Passat sedan, which has shown its own signs of diminished popularity. Voted Car of the Year by Motor Trend Magazine in 2011, the Passat has constantly been criticized for its lackluster styling and poorer use of finish materials compared to current European-spec and the previous US-spec Passat. That cause and effect was a direct result of the decision to be more completive on pricing against its core competition, instead of building cars its loyal customer base expect. Maybe Volkswagen needs to reevaluate trying to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, as is its intent by 2018.

The Passat Cabriolet would be a slam dunk to build, since it could be developed off the platform architecture of the Audi A5 Cabriolet. The Passat would probably remain FWD, leaving the Quattro AWD system to Audi. Powerplants would remain the same as the current Passat sedan, beginning with the standard 1.8T, the more spirited 2.0T and 2.0L clean burn diesel TDI. Again the Audi-sourced 4.2L V8 would be reserved for Volkswagen AG’s luxury and sports car models.

Don’t expect to see this drop-top Passat (or anything close to it) anytime soon. The updated 2015 sedan is not expected to make its debut until at least fall, so it stands to reason that the Cabriolet wouldn’t follow until at least spring of 2015.