The Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is back after a two-year hiatus; it’s sportier and more practical than ever, and there’s even a turbocharged power option available.
The Type 15 VW Convertible rolled onto American highways in 1949 and it has been one of the most popular ragtops ever built. More than 330,000 copies of the first Beetle Convertible were made over a 32- year span, while another 234,619 of the newer version were produced in an eightyear period.
The so-called New Beetle Convertible was not a straight copy of the original, but a reinterpretation of it, and that’s the case with this third generation. Designers have reinterpreted the Beetle Convertible’s timeless styling with a sportier, more dynamic silhouette, just as they did with the Beetle Coupe.
The new version is substantially wider, has a longer hood, and has a more upright windshield that sits further back than on the last version. The standard rear spoiler adds to the little car’s sporty look.
The Convertible also keeps the bold stance of the Coupe, thanks to wider tracks and a longer wheelbase than the previous Convertible. The latest Beetle Convertible is 3.3 inches wider at 71.2 inches; 1.1 inches lower at 58.0 inches tall, and 6.0 inches longer at 168.4 inches overall. The top goes up or down in about 10 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.
Top up, the Beetle Convertible has an even lower roofline than the Coupe. Volkswagen decided to stick with a traditional softtop because it allows for a roofline that’s more like the original 1949 version and it takes up less space than a folding hardtop, thus giving more trunk space.
The 2013 Beetle Convertible offers several powertrain combinations, including a 2.0- liter TDI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Also available is a 2.0-liter TDI turbocharged Clean Diesel with the same manual or DSG options and a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine mated to a sixspeed automatic transmission.
The turbocharged dual-overhead-cam, 16-valve, 2.0-liter, direct-injection, fourcylinder engine makes 200 hp and 207 pounds-feet of torque, delivered from just 1700 rpm. With the DSG transmission, the Turbo gets 21/29 mpg and 21/30 mpg with the manual box.
The TDI 2.0-liter turbocharged, directinjection Clean Diesel engine in the Turbo model makes 140 hp and 236 pounds-feet of torque and gets 28/41 mpg with the manual transmission. The 2.5-liter inline fivecylinder has dual chain-driven overhead camshafts with variable timing on the intake side, four valves per cylinder, and an aluminum-alloy cylinder head. The engine makes 170 hp and 177 pounds-feet of torque and gets 21/27 mpg.
Pricing on the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible ranges from $24,995 to $31,195.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.