Fitting the top Eos with the same engine as the Golf GTI may sound like ambitious marketing by Volkswagen, but in truth the original 197bhp four-cylinder turbo proved a superb companion and its current incarnation will doubtless do the same.

Other than a little sluggishness from rest, the almost lag-free mid-range thrust overcomes the obese 1610kg weight to propel the Eos with surprising speed. The sprint to 60mph is dealt with in 7.8sec and 100mph in 20.5sec.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
A diesel engine in a high-image open car used to be an automotive oxymoron, but times have changed

These may be some way behind the GTi’s figures, but they’re impressive for the class and don’t reflect the Eos’s true pace. Slot fourth gear and push the aluminium-trimmed throttle to the floor at 30mph and the Eos gains 20mph every six seconds or so until it hits 90mph. Such flexibility almost leaves the slick (if remote-feeling) six-speed gearbox virtually redundant.

The 1.4 TSI with 158bhp is also a punchy, rapid car and in some ways is the optimum Eos. As ever, this turbo/supercharged engine gives a remarkable spread of entirely lag-free power from very low revs right up to the limit, but surprisingly its official fuel figures don't give it quite the fiscal advantage over the 2.0 that you would expect.

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We have also tested the 2.0 TDI, in combination with the optional DSG gearbox, and it proves a smooth, refined and responsive diesel matched to quick and tidy gearshifts which keep the engine at barely audible revs while you’re wafting around town.

This is the lowest-CO2 Eos but you don't suffer for the frugality. The idea of a diesel engine in a high-image open car used to be something of an automotive oxymoron, but times have changed.

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