The idea behind was rather straightforward - take a basic-transportation economy car and give it a high-performance package, making it practical and sporty. It was one of the first small cars to adopt mechanical fuel injection. In 2004, Sports Car International declared the Golf Mk1 GTI to be the 3rd best car of the 1980s.
The convertible version, named the Golf Cabriolet (or Typ 155) was sold from 1980 to 1993. It had a reinforced body, transverse roll bar, and a high level of trim, and kept the pre-1980 style of rear lamp clusters. The Mk1 Cabriolet is of unibody construction built entirely at the factory of Karmann, from stamping to final assembly; Volkswagen supplied the engine, suspension, interior, etc. for Karmann to install.