Happy New Year 2013 VW Beetle Convertible!
On Oprah a few years ago, the ubiquitous TV show host gave each audience member a 2011 New Beetle as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” To be exact, two hundred and seventy-five Beetles were given away!
At the time, the New Beetle had been fully revamped. A different beast than its predecessor, the bug incorporated more sophisticated leaner styling and a more powerful engine.
The legacy that started with the original Type 1 over 70 years ago continues today.
We recently drove the third generation 2013 Beetle Convertible up the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to Malibu. It was an unusually rainy and misty California day. Not a great day for a top down ride. But, then again, who can resist when you are driving a Beetle. The 2013 Beetle Convertible continues to be intriguing.
Ever since the Type 15 Convertible from 1949, the Beetle has been one of the most popular open-top cars built. More than 330,000 examples of the first Beetle
Convertible were manufactured over a 32-year span, while another 234,619 New
Beetle Convertibles were produced in an eight-year period.
One of the VW engineers remarked at the launch, “We use Beetle as a precious asset. Although it’s predominately driven by women, the numbers of male drivers are increasing, especially with the turbo charged editions. This year, we created a Beetle that is wider and longer with a lower roofline with the idea of making it a daily driver.”
Besides marketing the car to compete with the Cooper S, the company is hoping to make bigger inroads into the aftermarket. At 2012 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association), VW featured a variety of Beetles. The tricked out cars ranged from a low riding chopped top with a high performance blue metallic wrap to a beach buggy with 19-inch retro alloy wheels.
But you don’t need to trick your car if you go with the three special edition Beetle Convertibles that stand for distinct decades in American cultural history—the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s. The ‘50s Edition Beetle Convertible sports a classic black with a tan interior. The ‘60s Edition is all about two-tone seats and Denim Blue paint. The ‘70s Edition Convertible comes on with a sophisticated Toffee Brown exterior and chrome-look disc wheels.
“Retro is not our thing. We are always looking forward,” said Klaus Bischoff, head designer, Volkswagen Brand. “Volkswagen has reinterpreted the Beetle Convertible’s timeless design with a sportier and more dynamic silhouette, just as it did with the Beetle Coupe. The car is substantially wider, has a longer hood and has a more upright windshield that sits further back than before. The standard rear spoiler reinforces the car’s sporty look.”
The New Beetle convertible is wider, longer and lower than the previous New Beetle Convertible. For example, the latest Beetle Convertible is 3.3 inches wider, 1.1 inches lower and 6.0 inches longer than the 2006 version.
With the top up, the Beetle Convertible has a lower roofline than the Coupe’s. When the top is down, a flexible leatherette top boot cleans up the lines. While the soft top harkens back to the original 1949 Type 15, it has a more updated rear window made of tempered safety glass.
The top, which unlatches automatically at the touch of a button, stows in 9.5 seconds and rises in 11.0 seconds. It can be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 31 mph. To note, the trunk space remains the same whether the top is open or closed.
Bischoff says, “The shape and use of color for the dashboard harkens back to the design of the very first Beetle models… the simple layout and clean graphics are the same as the Beetle Coupe.”
We like the oversized, easy-to-reach dials. Three round gauges are arranged in front of the driver (tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge). The audio/navigation system is located in the driver’s field of vision on the dashboard with the climate controls situated just below. Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glove box (the “Beetle bin”) incorporated into the dashboard.
The trunk is larger, offering 7.1 cubic feet of space, compared with the New Beetle’s 5.0 cubic feet. A split-folding rear seat, new on this Beetle, allows the car to carry bulkier and larger items.
The 2.5-liter inline five yields 170 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. The
EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 21-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injection yields 200 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. The EPA-estimated fuel economy rating is 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway.
The Beetle TDI uses the company’s 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection Clean
Diesel engine that yields 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 28-mpg city and 41-mpg highway.
The Beetle Convertible, which has a starting MSRP of $24,995, comes standard with six-speed automatic transmission, leather wrapped steering wheel, manual air conditioning, Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod adapter, three-color adjustable ambient lighting, Bluetooth technology, heated front seats, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, eight speaker sound system with aux-in, cruise control and power adjustable heated side mirrors.
END NOTE: Just for fun we looked up a fully restored 1960 Beetle Cabriolet. It came in at $22,500. If you like real retro, don’t mind a small trunk and hefting a ragtop roof up and down… well, fine. But, we did the math and decided to go with the 2013 version. In denim blue!