The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Let The Sunshine In! Volkswagen's Panoramic Sunroof A Re-Interpretation Of The Legendary Folding Soft Top


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
New Polo with a panoramic sunroof and 1956 Beetle 1200 with the VW sunroof.

• Legendary folding soft top gave the Beetle an 'open air feeling' year-round as early as in 1950

• Today, large panoramic sliding sunroofs bring sunlight on-board in many Volkswagen cars and at any time of year


WOLFSBURG - October 19, 2017: The days are growing shorter, the leaves are changing color, and fall is making its appearance. Despite the season, a lot of Volkswagens are still bright as in summer. There is a tradition here. Ever since the company's early years, intelligent roof systems have been capturing the light of the sun even in wintertime. As early as in 1950, Volkswagen began to offer the Beetle with a folding sunroof. In the mid-1990s, this roof concept was refined in the Lupo and Polo with electrically actuated versions. Today, transparent panoramic sunroofs are experiencing a boom. They are available for all Volkswagen models – from the small up! and new Polo to the large Touareg and new Arteon.

At the beginning there was the 'rolling sunroof'. Photos from 1938 already show a 'cabrio-saloon' version of the later Beetle on test drives in the Austrian Alps and at the founding of the Volkswagen factory. So the idea of a saloon with a folding sunroof is part of the brand's DNA. Starting in 1950, Volkswagen customers could order a 'sunroof saloon' based on the Beetle for an extra price of 250 German Marks. It was equipped with a folding roof supplied by the roof specialist Golde from Frankfurt. It was a 'folding roof' because when it was opened, it would fold up toward the rear.

Over the next decades, steel and small glass sliding roofs took on the task of providing fresh air and sunlight. By 1994, the folding roof idea would experience a renaissance in the third generation Polo. The 'open air' version made a favorable impression with its electric actuation. The Lupo introduced in 1998 also had this roof system. Even more clever was the roof hydraulics of the Volkswagen Eos that drove into the sunlight in spring 2006. It combined a five-part folding metal roof with an integrated tilt/sliding glass sunroof, which enabled, for the first time, a light-filled interior ambiance even when the roof was up.

With the glass panoramic sunroofs offered by Volkswagen today, most saloon, MPV and SUV customers have long been able to drive away the autumn blues with a lot of light. Whether in the new Polo – with its enlarged glass surface compared to the previous model – or the new T-Roc or also just introduced Tiguan Allspace, the electric tilt/slide sunroofs – which open toward the rear – create the desired open-air effect. And if it is raining or is simply too cold, it lets daylight through even when closed. This has made the panoramic sunroof the folding roof of a contemporary era, which can be ordered in any of the Volkswagen model series offered today – and not just ideally in golden October.