Through the decades, the design of the Volkswagen Beetle convertible has evolved from the austere looks of the original to the way-too-cute previous generation known as the New Beetle. Now the folks at VW have dropped the "New" moniker and given this all-new version a distinctly more muscular stance that makes it stand out among both its predecessors and convertible competitors.
Besides the obvious appeal of having a power-operated folding soft top, the Beetle convertible boasts a high-quality interior, a relatively roomy rear seat and sporty Turbo and fuel-efficient TDI models. Put it all together and you have a convertible that deserves the serious consideration of anyone looking to do a little open-air motoring.
Current Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Specs
The Volkswagen Beetle convertible made its debut for 2013, a year after the redesigned coupe hit the streets.
As with the coupe, the convertible's transformation from the previous New Beetle includes a body that's longer, lower and wider. Inside, the broad dash with the friendly flower vase has been replaced by a more vertical windshield and body-color trim that give the cabin a look that's more handsome than adorable. The increased dimensions also give it a roomier interior, especially in the backseat, and a slightly larger trunk.
This four-passenger body style is offered in three main trim levels, including the base 2.5L, TDI and Turbo. For the convertible's first year, VW is also offering special editions ('50s Edition, '60s Edition and '70s Edition) with unique exterior paint colors.
The entry-level 2.5L comes with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder that puts out 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. The highly fuel-efficient TDI version is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder engine rated at 140 hp and 236 lb-ft, while the sporty Turbo model gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the TDI and Turbo include a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DSG).
Even the base 2.5L comes well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, heated front seats, 50/50-split-folding rear seats, cruise control, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system. The TDI adds keyless entry/ignition, a dash-top gauge pod, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and satellite radio. Turbo models get 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, cloth upholstery, front sport seats and distinctive interior trim. Major options include a touchscreen navigation system and a Fender premium audio system with nine speakers.
What those details don't convey is just how attractive the passenger cabin is, with its clean lines and the color-matched dash panels on select models. The front seats are quite roomy and comfortable, and the rear seats can be used by adults for short drives. No matter the model, the VW Beetle convertible has a power-operated top that can be opened in about 10 seconds. Just as with previous Beetle convertibles, the top stacks behind the rear seats, allowing the trunk to still be fairly accommodating.
Even though it's heavier than the coupe by about 200 pounds, the convertible provides a similar, well-balanced approach to handling and ride comfort. The 2.5-liter base engine is merely adequate and returns below-average fuel economy numbers, which inclines us to recommend the much more responsive (and fuel-efficient) Turbo and TDI models.
Used Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Models
For used car information on the previous-generation model (produced from 2003-'10), please see our review of the New Volkswagen Beetle convertible.
Read the most recent 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Volkswagen Beetle Convertible page.