2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Review


Pros & Cons

  • High style yet functional interior design
  • powerful turbocharged engines
  • fuel-efficient diesel.
  • Slow responses of R-Line and TDI's DSG transmission
  • typically more expensive than rival models
  • indifferent handling.
Other years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle pays proper homage to an icon of the past while still offering thoroughly modern features and performance. It's a good pick if you want a coupe or convertible with a mix of fun and practicality.

Vehicle overview

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle is as retro as they come. Park this modern Beetle next to its classic 1960s relative and you'll see plenty of styling cues that have carried over. But the appeal isn't merely superficial: When this bubbly Volkswagen is done reminding you of all things flower-power, turns out there's a pretty good car underneath.

One impressive aspect of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle is under the hood. Freshly updated this year, the available turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine gets an additional 10 horsepower and a bump in fuel economy to an impressively frugal 34 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA. If diesel isn't for you, the standard 1.8-liter turbocharged engine offers a good combination of economy and power, while the Edmunds "B" rated R-Line gets a 2.0-liter engine that has even more punch.

The interior of the Beetle also earns points. Take a seat inside and you'll find a stylish design that rises above common economy car standards, yet still is blessed with straightforward controls and high-quality materials.

Alas, the 2015 VW Beetle isn't without some issues. Visibility through the small rear window of the coupe is limited and the convertible has blocked views with the top up or folded down. In both cases, we recommend opting for the newly available rearview camera. The camera is a late-availability option, though, so depending on when your Beetle was built, it may not have one. Depending on your priorities, you might also be disappointed in the way the Beetle drives. While its engines are strong, it's not a particularly rewarding car to drive around turns, as neither the steering nor the brakes instill much confidence for spirited driving.

A more sporting choice would be the 2015 Mini Cooper. It has loads of personality and is fun to drive, but, like the Beetle, can end up being rather expensive. A more practical, if less exciting choice, would be Volkswagen's own Golf hatchback, which further benefits from a well-executed redesign this year. While it isn't available as a convertible, the 2015 Kia Forte Koup, with peppy engine options, generous standard features and affordable price, is another one of our favorites. Finally, the 2015 Fiat 500 is another respectable choice, particularly if you want an everyday car that's extremely compact and easy to park.

Overall, though, the Beetle presents a pretty appealing mix of fun and practicality. And we're pretty sure that's something people of all generations can appreciate.

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible models

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle is a four-passenger, two-door hatchback available in coupe and convertible body styles with three basic trim levels that correspond to the available engines: 1.8T, R-Line and TDI.

The Beetle 1.8T comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield-washer nozzles, heated mirrors, full power accessories, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and height-adjustable front seats, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also standard is VW's Car-Net telematics system.

The 1.8T Classic gets unique upholstery, lumbar adjustment for the front seats, a touchscreen audio interface, satellite radio and a navigation system.

The Sunroof package (called the Technology package on the convertible) incorporates the standard 1.8T equipment plus a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera (late availability), keyless ignition and entry, satellite radio and a touchscreen audio interface. The Sunroof, Sound & Navigation package (just Sound and Nav on the convertible) includes the above plus 18-inch wheels, a navigation system and a nine-speaker Fender audio system.

The Beetle R-Line adds the following to the Beetle 1.8T's equipment: a more-powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, unique cloth upholstery, a performance gauge package, faux carbon-fiber accents and alloy pedals.

The R-Line Sunroof and Sound package (R-Line with Sound on the convertible) adds the same items as the 1.8T's Sunroof package along with the Fender audio system. The R-Line's Sunroof, Sound and Navigation System (R-Line with Sound and Nav for the convertible) adds 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, leather upholstery and a navigation system to the above package.

The Beetle TDI includes the 1.8T's standard equipment along with chrome exterior accents, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a touchscreen audio interface and a performance gauge package. As an option, it also offers the optional Sunroof, Sound and Navigation package.

2015 Highlights

For the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle, the optional 2.0-liter diesel engine gets 10 additional horsepower, yet also delivers a slight increase in fuel economy. A new trim level called the Beetle Classic enters the lineup, and all but the base Beetle now come standard with a rearview camera (late availability).

Performance & mpg

The standard engine for the front-wheel-drive 2015 VW Beetle is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (1.8T) that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque. The 1.8T is paired with a five-speed manual transmission on the coupe as standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The 1.8T convertible comes only with the automatic. For the coupe, EPA-estimated fuel economy with the 1.8T stands at 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) paired to the automatic and 27 mpg combined (24/33) with the five-speed manual. Opt for the convertible where you can only get the 1.8T with an automatic transmission and estimates fall to 26 mpg combined (24/32). During Edmunds performance testing, a convertible Beetle 1.8T accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is a good time for the segment.

The Beetle R-Line gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automated manual (known as DSG) is optional. Fuel economy for the coupe is an EPA estimated 26 mpg combined with either transmission. For the R-Line convertible, the manual transmission also returns 26 mpg combined (23/31), while the automatic transmission drops estimates to 25 mpg combined (23/29).

Under the hood of the Beetle TDI is a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder with 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. As with the R-Line, buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed DSG. Regardless of transmission choice, fuel economy estimates stand at an impressive 34 mpg combined (31/41) for the coupe and the convertible.


Every 2015 Volkswagen Beetle comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics system. Car-Net bundles crash notification, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location, remote door unlocking and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers).

In government crash tests, the Beetle coupe received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars awarded for total frontal protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the coupe its top "Good" rating in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In IIHS's small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Beetle scored a rating of "Marginal," the second lowest rating. The seat and head restraints were rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear-end impacts.

During Edmunds testing, a convertible Beetle 1.8T came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is about average for the segment.


We're fond of all three of the available engines in the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle. The turbocharged 1.8-liter engine is smooth, powerful and provides respectable fuel economy. The more powerful engine in the Beetle R-Line has even more punch and sounds great. Like other Volkswagen diesel models, the Beetle TDI provides plenty of low-speed shove and very good fuel economy.

The six-speed manual is quite possibly the most easily shifted do-it-yourself transmission around, while the R-Line and TDI's sophisticated DSG gearbox is a nice compromise for those who want the convenience of an automatic with much of the performance and control of a manual. That said, the DSG's responses can be frustratingly slow when accelerating from a stop or in slow-moving traffic.

The Beetle's handling is respectably adept, though the car's overall abilities and steering response are well short of what you'll get from a Fiat 500 Abarth or Mini Cooper S. When just cruising on city streets or on the highway, however, the Beetle is pretty comfortable. Even the R-Line's sport suspension shrugs off bumps and ruts in the road. You'll notice the road's imperfections, but there's no harshness to speak of, while road noise is noticeable but not intrusive. All things considered, the Beetle is a pleasing long-distance road trip companion.


The 2015 VW Beetle gets plenty of inspiration from the original flower-power model, but it still includes the same features, controls and construction as other modern Volkswagens. This translates to a pretty classy passenger environment. The trim that runs across the dash and doors can be color-keyed to the exterior just as in old Bugs, while the R-Line gets secondary dash-top gauges and available two-tone seats.

The optional navigation system is easy to use, though its small screen limits usefulness. The premium Fender sound system, on the other hand, is well worth the extra cost and provides impressive sound quality.

Despite its seemingly low roof line, the Beetle still provides plenty of room for tall drivers, and most people will find the front seats pretty comfortable. The rear seat also has a lot of headroom. Legroom in back is fairly tight, but it's still a little more than what you'll get from most rivals.

The Beetle coupe has 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, though the convertible cuts maximum cargo capacity to just 7.1 cubic feet. That is around 1-2 cubic feet more than the Fiat 500 convertible or the Mini Cooper convertible, but loading luggage or other items can be difficult because of the Beetle convertible's awkward, upright trunk opening. Fold the rear seats flat in the Beetle coupe and you'll have about 30 cubic feet of cargo space to work with.

For the convertible, the power soft top folds down in about 10 seconds and it can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. Problematically, though, when the top is folded down, it sits on top of the rear deck lid and rear visibility is limited.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Head rests too limiting
1.8T w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Haven't had it long but so far I love it. Fun to drive with lots of spunk. The cons are: climate control is either too much or not enough. Doesn't seem to be much of a middle road; Major issue with visibility. The head rests in back present a big blind spot when backing out. Of course the camera helps but can't give visual past each sides limits. I don't see any way around this without reducing size of headrests. After owning the car for awhile now I still have the same two complaints - limited visibility due to size of headrests and lack of adjustments with climate control. The convertible top operation is very smooth and easy to operate. Still really like the car.
Classy,sex and spunky
Becca T,05/22/2019
1.8T w/Technology 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I have a 2015 Volkswagen Convertible Beetle. I LOVE this car. I travel for work and am on and off the expressways. I often have to parallel park in Chicago and fit into tight spaces. I get around 35 miles to the gallon on expressway. And...don't get me started on the excitement of the turbo power getting on the expressway. This is by far the best car I have ever owned. Let's talk dependability..... unbelievably the best! I have almost 160,000 miles and nothing but normal maintenance has been needed. I drive mine year around. Living in Michigan I get alot of snow. And living on the lake even more snow. I have never had a issue getting around in the winter. Summer's driving in between appointments is a total destresser with the top down. This car is a must have.
A Beetle that drives FAR BETTER than expected!
Jim Davis,04/09/2018
R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
The R-Line Beetle is a very fun niche car--you need to know what you're getting into or you may not be satisfied. The DSG transmission can feel jerky in stop and go LA traffic--it was built for open road and great shifting and excels at that. The turbo takes a minute to spin up from a stop, but cruising down the road the power is always there, always available and it's ready to get out of the way in an instant. Everybody wants to compare the Beetle to the Golf GTI--why? If you've never driven a Golf GTI you'll be worlds ahead in enjoying this Beetle as it is; it's not a Golf. Ours is a convertible and "Denim" colored--yes, powder blue. Nobody takes the car seriously because it's always being described as "cute". This is fine as the Beetle is a blast to drive and my first freeway trip I kept thinking "there's no way I'm in a Bug moving through traffic as nimbly as I am". It is really unassuming to take everything you think you know about Beetles and actually drive one of the new Bugs. The strange thing about the R-line, or any loaded Beetle, is that it has great technology, just not all the technology you think it should have. The seats are manual adjustment with a pump action to raise or lower them. The mirrors are not mono-chromatic--to compensate I''ve discovered I can drive with the windscreen up at night (even with top closed) and it helps filter bright headlights. Not having monochromatic mirrors really sucks with todays headlight technology capable of blinding you on dark roads as happens frequently on my 5 hour road trips in the car. Our R-Line has blind side monitors and back up camera, which is desperately needed as the blind spots are huge in this car. It does have an incredibly outstanding Fender sound system--hands down the clearest, best sounding stereo I've experienced in a car. It has booming bass, treble is crytal clear and the volume is loud enough to leave your ears ringing if you desire. As for the convertible operation, you hold the button to open or close the lid, no latches to undo, and it'll raise or lower your windows when finishing the operation. Also, you can click and hold the vehicle remote twice while standing next to the car to open or close the lid as well. There is surprisingly usable trunk space. The back seat does not work very well as a backseat, way too uncomfortable for anything other than a ride around the block. Overall, I love the car despite the quirks it has. It does have "Sport mode" for the transmission, which I call the fun button because it makes the car even more fun to drive and I didn't think that was possible. Sport mode changes the shift patterns and keeps the engine in its RPM's longer which really brings out more of the engines power and pulls like a small freight train--you can actually get pulled back into your seat as the turbo does its magic. The car performs very nimbly in and out of gaps of slow moving traffic and pulls hard up mountain inclines. Its really a blast to drive. Interior space is great--for two people. I'm a large guy at 270 pounds and fit very comfortably with ample shoulder and arm room. Bottom line, this is the funnest car I've ever driven due to its prowess, easy to lay down power and drop top. I get a smile every time I jump in for a ride and try to keep the top down as often as possible. It is a car for people who are not ok blending in with every 4 door sedan that looks just like every other 4 door sedan. It is instantly recognizable and thoroughly modernized.
getta up and go...
Kapt Karl,03/03/2019
1.8T Classic 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This car "silver moon metallic Classic" receives kudos from so many drive by's!! Very peppy and fast starts. Very much a keeper! No service issues in 4 years!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible features & specs
More about the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Used 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Overview

The Used 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is offered in the following submodels: Beetle Convertible, Beetle Convertible Diesel. Available styles include 1.8T w/Technology 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), R-Line PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), R-Line 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), 1.8T PZEV w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), TDI w/Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), 1.8T w/Technology, Prod. end 12/14 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TDI w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), 1.8T PZEV w/Technology, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TDI w/Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), 1.8T PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TDI w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), 1.8T 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line w/Sound 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8T PZEV w/Technology 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line PZEV w/Sound 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line PZEV w/Sound 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line w/Sound 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 1.8T PZEV w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8T w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line w/Sound, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), TDI w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), R-Line w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), TDI w/Sound, Navigation 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), R-Line w/Sound, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 1.8T Classic 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TDI 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), TDI 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), R-Line PZEV w/Sound, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and 1.8T w/Sound, Navigation, Prod. End 12/14 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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