Stay away - engineering and quality are very poor.
I bought the car new for my daugher for a graduation present.
With just over 50K miles we have had to rebuild the transmission and replace the cytelitic converter.
Also had numorous annoying but slightly less major problems.
My daughter had to stop usign the convertible top several years ago.
The darn thing is too complicated and something breaks about every third time it was used.
The scary thing is that every we encountered a problem I look on the VW forums and found that many other owners are experiencing the same problem.
I bought this car from a family member with only 16K miles and it was garage kept. It's a 2.0 convertible with automatic. I can't begin to say how cheaply built this car is and VW should be ashamed of this product. The structure of this car creaks and moans over smooth roads. The driver's door handle (plastic) was cracked and this cracked the entire door panel. Replacements are hard to find and expensive. I got a new door panel and got metal door handles from ebay. The driver's door latch switch broke. This needed an entire latch and the switch lowers the window when opening and closing the door. Without this switch say goodbye to the top. So I did this myself. Then the rear plastics all cracked. Then the flaps to cover the top frame broke and the top wouldn't move so I took them off to fix it. Then the rear window separated from the canvas. I repaired the rear glass to save me the $2500 for a new top. Once I had this fixed, then the rear driver's window regulator broke. I took this to my friend and he fixed it for $300, but then the power top broke. So I disabled the power top and do it by hand since I'm done fixing stuff on this car. So it's fate is destined to be the in junkyard, but for now it's just rolling junk waiting for it's destiny. All of these repairs are on a low mileage, well maintained car. Other driving impressions- it drives like a cheap economy car. Braking is good. Acceleration is below average. Transmission and engine are still working for some reason. Structure is poor as I described above. Interior storage is average. rear seat room is tight. Paint is good. 30MPG highway. I can not recommend this car under any circumstances even if it's given to you for free. It is very poorly over-engineered. Parts quality is very poor. Construction quality is poor with cheap brittle plastic and weak adhesives holding things together. Parts cost is very high and availability is poor as it may need to be shipped from Germany. So nothing here to see-keep looking.
Within three days of buying a 2004 Beetle convertible from a used dealer for $8,600 (incl CA sales tax and dealer fees), it became obvious the tranny had issues. (88K miles on the car.) Less than 2 months later, I've replaced the transmission, and axle, the triptronic...to the tune of $6500. I'm not into this car 15K and every week, something new (engine valve) keeps popping up. The dealer had to have known--the car didn't "know" what gear it was in the first time I took it on the highway. It only made it the 5 miles home after purchase uneventful. I've now maxed out my credit cards and even w/ the new tranny, the car is STILL shifting choppily!
Its was my sister car at 79k miles on it. It look and drove great. I was impress with MPG and Yes at 30 plus plus mpg!! Now at 100k and moved to the horrible south Texas! With humility and very Hot I noticed the door panels are pulling back-off like, there leather and it's anoing! It has cute looks that's what girls and women like but really it's a nice car. With the 1.8L turbo and 5speed manuel...it's a Fast little sleeper...hehe I love it at stop lights with big trucks or mustang even the 320z it just leaves all of them at the light! And the drivers look as they only see my tail lights!! Ha!! But as the car it has one of the Best n World engine top 10... But with the window regulator(drivers side was out!) and door trim pulling out...and headlights work great but fade to fast... It has problems....Sad cuz it's actually a good little Fast great MPG...car. I drove PCH highway for those that don't know that the twisty road on the west coast...and with the top down..it was a fun fun little car to drive...and I drive spiritly quick to I may add. So for a safe and good MPG and a Fast car with manuel n turbocharger it's great. But some quality built materials would be appreciated.
Love my bug! My husband purchased this used vehicle for my college graduation eight years ago and we have put very little money into her. Runs great, ok gas mileage, consider it's Turbo not diesel. As she's starting to age she's not as quiet as a new ride, but do not look to replace her. In fact looking to change her paint job, red to hot pink.