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CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, May 8, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' By Roy Nakano

In a campus environment, it's very tempting to stay with the easy classes. You may not learn all that much, but the practice sure has a positive impact on the grades. A few people approach their education quite differently, taking some of the hardest classes instead. It's an admirable quality, but it's murder on the grade point average. Volkswagen seems to fit the latter profile. Not content with no-brainers like building a simple modern-day Microbus, VW likes to go the hard way. Who else comes up with the W8 engine - essentially two V4s conjoined at the hip - just so it can fit an eight-cylinder motor into the previous-generation Passat? Or how about building a state-of-the-art luxury sedan with a VW badge? The Phaeton was a phenomenal car. Alas, Americans had a hard time being convinced that they should spend upwards of $100,000 for a twelve-cylinder Volkswagen.

The latest example of VW's tendency to go the hard way is the Eos convertible hardtop coupe. This is a pretty crowded field. Everyone from BMW to Lexus to Mazda to Mercedes to Pontiac to Volvo to Chrysler has one. It's not an easy thing to do. The pieces all have to fit in the trunk and go back up and form a seamless, wind and rain-proof top - all in less than 30 seconds. The better designs will still provide trunk space with the top down. Fortunately, the Eos is one of the better ones. Not only does it provide ample trunk space with the top down, it also has a built-in, motorized skyroof with the top up. It's also built off of the excellent Golf platform, which means it's a solid design with very good driving dynamics. The Eos also shares its base engine with the GTI - the excellent 2.0 liter turbocharged motor cranks out 200 horsepower, and has a very fat torque curve and virtually non-existent turbo lag. The 2.0T motor is more than enough for the Eos, but VW also offers a 250-horsepower version of the 3.2-liter V6 that powers the high performing R32. Both engines are fitted to the excellent DSG 6-speed automatic manu-matic transmission (the 2.0T can also be fitted with a 6-speed manual). The DSG has the distinction of matching the acceleration and gas mileage of the 6-speed manual transmission - an unusual feat for an automatic transmission.

Although the Eos shares its platform with other VW models, its body is unique unto itself. It's a handsome car, but I wish VW added a tad more pizzazz to the design. With all the competition out there, the spoils will go to the makers with cars that stand out from the crowd. In the case of the Eos, it may be enough that the price of admission is just $28,110. For that, you get the trick skyroof, a great powertrain, a solid platform, and a very tangible dose of fun. Eos, in case you are wondering, is the goddess of dawn. It's an appropriate name for this vehicle. I can imagine hearing the Fifth Dimensions sing, while the skyroof opens or the trick top neatly folds away into the trunk. This is one great ride for cruising the quiet pre-dawn mornings on Angeles Crest Highway, a warm evening on the lush back roads in San Marino, or the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes at any time of the day. As the dawn goddess, Eos opened the gates of heaven so that her brother, Helios the sun, could ride his chariot across the sky every day. I don't know if the Volkswagen Eos can open up your gates of heaven. It is, however, a very nice way to start your day. Take that fresh cup of coffee, slip into those comfortable bucket seats, let the motor hum, open up the skyroof, and let the Eos take you to your destination.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Eos shown with Volkswagen's Highway 1 SEMA show car wheels For more information about Volkswagen products, go to www.vw.com.

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen Eos Price: $28,110 base (2.0T) $36,970 (3.2L V6) Engine types: Standard 2.0 liter direct-injected, turbocharged, dual overhead cam, 16-valve in-line four Optional 3.2 liter 24-valve VR6 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 23/32 (2.0T) 22/29 (3.2L) Horsepower: 200 @ 5,100-6000 rpm (2.0T) 250 @ 6300 rpm (3.2L) Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1800-5000 (2.0T) 235 lb-ft @ 2500-3000 (3.2L) Drive configuration: Front engine / front-wheel drive Transmission type: Six-speed automatic DSG (direct shift gearbox) transmission with sequential shifting feature (2.0T also available with 6-speed manual transmission) Front suspension: MacPherson struts with lower wishbones, aluminum subframe, tubular anti-roll bar, track stabilizing steering roll radius Rear suspension: Four-link with separate springs/shock absorber arrangement, subframe, and a tubular anti-roll bar Wheels and tires: 17-inch alloy wheels 235/45/18 all-season tires Brakes: Front: Vented discs, vacuum assist, 12.3 diameter Rear: Solid discs, vacuum assist, 11.3 diameter Electronic Stabilization Program, (ESP), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), anti-lock braking system (ABS) Overall length: 173.5" Overall width: 70.5" Overall height: 56.8" Curb weight (lbs.): 3505 (manual 2.0T); 3569 (DSG 2.0T) 3686 pounds (3.2L) Top Speed, mph: 130 0-60 mph: 7.4 (2.0T) 6.9 (3.2L)

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