For the latest model year, the Beetle Convertible lineup receives more aggressive-looking bumpers on both ends.
While the previous Beetle Convertible was without a doubt the most adorable drop-top on the market, the latest version dials back the cuteness level and adopts a tauter, less rounded look. Inside, the dashboard is more dynamic-looking than before - the old flower vase is nowhere to be found - but the flat dashboard and retro-inspired circular gauges hark back to the original, rear-engined Type 1 Beetle.
With plenty of rear seat space, the Beetle Convertible is capable of carrying four adults for around town trips, and the 7.1-cubic-inch trunk can be expanded to accommodate bulky items by folding down the rear seats.
A fully insulated power soft top with a heated glass rear window is fitted as standard. It can be raised or lowered in just 10 seconds to take advantage of parting clouds or guard against sudden downpours.
Most Beetle Convertible models can be ordered with Volkswagen's vastly-improved MIB II infotainment system, which integrates the car's entertainment, navigation and climate control systems while offering crash notification, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location assistance. Car-Net also features remote vehicle access, speed and boundary alerts and it can provide a vehicle health report. The bulk of Car-Net's features can be accessed via a smartphone.
The Beetle Convertible is offered with two gasoline-burning engines.
The volume engine is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque.
Those looking for a ragtop with a bit of scoot can opt for the Volkswagen's ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which churns out 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed stick is standard while a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic is on the list of options; the former returns 21/30 mpg, while the latter is rated at 21/29 mpg.
Base Beetle Convertibles feature an inexpensive torsion beam rear suspension, while the sportier R-Line model uses a more sophisticated multi-link setup. The two models also use different steering systems, with the standard Bug utilizing a hydraulically-assisted setup and the Turbo employing electric power steering.
Standard and Optional Equipment
The Beetle Convertible is offered in six trim levels called 1.8T S, 1.8T SE, 1.8T SEL, R-Line S, R-Line SE, and R-Line SEL, respectively.
The entry-level S comes standard with automatic headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, A/C, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, leatherette upolstery, an eight-speaker sound system, heated door mirrors, cruise control, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The 1.8T SE adds keyless entry with a push-button ignition, voice control, a better infotainment system, a rear-view camera, and a three-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.
The 1.8T SEL gains 18-inch alloy wheels, navigation, and a six-month subscription to Volkswagen Car-Net.
The sportier R-Line S model gets all the features of the 1.8T S while adding the aforementioned 210-horsepower engine, a sport suspension, R-Line bumpers on both ends, 18-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, front fog lights, R-Line emblems, and metal-look pedal caps.
The R-Line SE model mirrors the 1.8T SE.
Finally, the range-topping R-Line SEL comes loaded with sport seats, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert.
Optional features, which can be bundled together in various packages depending on the model, a Fender premium audio system, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, a keyless entry system, a multi-function trip computer, a rear-view camera, a touchscreen-based navigation system, leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
All Beetle Convertibles come equipped with dual front airbags and combination side/curtain airbags. Other safety systems include traction and stability control systems as well as an Intelligent Crash Response System that automatically unlocks the doors, disconnects the battery terminal from the alternator cable, shuts off the fuel supply and turns on the warning hazards and interior lights in the event of a collision.
To protect passengers in the event of a rollover incident, the Beetle Convertible comes with two concealed rollover bars behind the rear seats that pop up when needed
As an inexpensive front-wheel-drive convertible with seating for four, the Beetle Convertible's most direct competitor is the MINI Cooper Convertible, which is less spacious than the Volkswagen but more fun on a curvy back road. Other alternative include the diminutive Fiat 500c in addition to bigger, more powerful rear-wheel-drive bruisers like the Ford Mustang Convertible and Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.