I was in Los Angeles recently for the launch of the 2013 Beetle Convertible and came away very impressed. First of all, we can’t call the new Beetle the New Beetle because VW wants us to just call it the Beetle so we don’t confuse it with the last generation Beetle that the called the New Beetle. In the convertibles case, we can call it the third generation Beetle Convertible. No matter what you call it, it is a huge improvement over the last generation version.
VW has aimed this lower, wider, more masculine Beetle more toward the male segment and has hit the target. As a card carrying heterosexual male, I was never really comfortable with the last gen Beetle in any form. Gone are the daisy decals and the flower vase. Enter the Fender Guitar Edition with cool accents, a great sound system, and aggressive styling.
The topless Beetle is powered by either a 170hp 2.5 liter I-5, a 200hp 2.0 liter Turbo I-4, or for just a $100 more, the very cool 2.0 Turbo Diesel that gets 41mpg on the highway. I can’t imagine anyone passing up the diesel for that price point.
Inside, the Beetle Convertible is appointed very well, even in the base $24k trim level. Moving up to the next trim level will get you a great NAV a backup camera, and several other niceties. The top trim level will get you into the low $30’s but that is still pretty good for a four seat convertible this nice and with this much room. One particular cool feature of the Beetle Convertible is that you can drop the top while moving up to 31mph without hurting anything. And it is very quick (9.5 seconds) when it moves too.
Handling and ride quality was top notch and the brakes were more than up to a brisk drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. After driving one of the classic 70’s Beetle Convertibles they had for us, and seeing my life flash before my eyes, I can honestly say that the old versions had horrible brakes and handled even worse. This new generation is light years better.
Safetywise, the Beetle comes off very well with a nifty Automatic Rollover Support System. This adds rollover bars behind the rear seats that automatically deploy along with the airbags in an accident.
Anyone wanting a retro styled four seat convertible that is reasonably priced, well built, and a kick to drive should hightail it to the local VW Emporium and test drive the 2013 Beetle Convertible. Yes, even guys will like it.
I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.