Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First drive: Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet
Drop-top Beetle ups the fun for Volkswagen's retro-ride.

   



<< earlier Volkswagen review     later Volkswagen review >>

Reviews homepage -> Volkswagen reviews

| First Drive | Nice, France | Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

While there are a few additional compromises as a Cabriolet, the Beetle is a heart-over-head purchase and the drop-top adds even more fun to the equation.

Key Facts

Model tested: Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 1.2 TSI
Pricing: 18,150
Engine: 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: two-door, four-seat cabriolet
Rivals: Citroen DS3 Cabrio, Fiat 500C, MINI Convertible
CO2 emissions: 142g/km
Combined economy: 46.3mpg
Top speed: 110mph
0-62mph: 11.7 seconds
Power: 105hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 175Nm at 1,550- to 4,100rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Instantly recognisable, it's a Volkswagen Beetle, with the roof lopped off and all that it entails. Volkswagen hasn't tried anything clever with the roof, it folding and sitting proud of the bodywork just as it did on its predecessors. There's even a cover that you need to put in place to neaten it all up, but with the gaps in the showers so short in the UK that's probably best left in the boot. Don't leave the wind deflector in there though, as it gets pretty draughty without it, relegating this four-seat drop-top to a two-seater for all but the hottest, slowest driving days.

Inside, the retro looks continue, though it's not so twee as its predecessor was. Volkswagen's usual solid build quality combines with relatively conventional design and largely impressive materials, though some of the plastics used in areas not commonly touched do hint at some cost cutting. Otherwise it's a pleasant enough environment. It's not as hushed as its Golf relation, but nor is that car anything like as charming.

Driving it: 3 3 3 3 3

Nobody buys a Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet with driving dynamics at the top of their list of requirements. The Beetle fails to rouse much in the way of interest behind the wheel. It steers, stops and goes; the key to its appeal is its styling and the feel-good factor that brings with it. That's not to say it's completely forgettable to drive, this 105hp 1.2-litre TSI engine delivering adequate performance, and mated to a slick six-speed manual transmission, but neither is it a stand-out machine in the face of its natural rivals. A drop-top MINI is way more entertaining; so too is Citroen's new DS3 Cabrio.

Roof down the Beetle is more in keeping with its ancient, asthmatic relations and simply about enjoying the passing scenery in relative comfort. With the wind deflector in place the cabin is pleasingly light on draughts, while the numbers associated with it (the canvas roof dropping at the touch of a button - at speeds of up to 31mph - in 9.5 seconds and raising in 11 seconds) are way more important than the 0-62mph time. It's 11.7 seconds for the record, in what Volkswagen anticipates to be among the biggest sellers in the range. Not fast then, but that's not really the point, the 1.2 TSI engine delivering enough performance for most. Volkswagen offers punchier engines should you want them.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

This expected big seller in its lowest Beetle trim comes with air conditioning, DAB audio, ESP, brake assist with hill hold and pop-up rollover protection. Bump up to Design and you gain alloy wheels, Bluetooth telephone preparation, iPod connectivity and a leather covered multi-function steering wheel. Sport specification isn't offered on the entry-level engine, though you can have the 1.2 with the optional seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, which improves economy over the six-speed manual, delivering 47.9mpg on the combined cycle instead of 46.3mpg and dropping CO2 from 142- to 139g/km.

Worth Noting

All Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolets get independent rear suspension as standard, thanks to the additional space required at the rear to house the folding hood mechanism. At launch Volkswagen is offering the Beetle in a number of special edition models too, dubbed 50s, 60s and 70s. The 50s comes exclusively with monochrome black paint with black painted alloy wheels and chrome door mirrors, the interior either black and red or beige leather. The 60s edition is offered in Denim Blue or Candy white with a black hood and a blue and black or red and black leather interior, while the 70s model has beige leather, a beige leather interior and java brown metallic paint.

Summary

You either want a Beetle Cabriolet or you don't, so it's unlikely anything we could say here would sway your opinion on it. And we can understand that entirely. However, we would urge you to save your money and opt for this entry-level car, as nothing above will add much more to the experience.


Kyle Fortune - 4 Mar 2013



  www.volkswagen.co.uk    - Volkswagen road tests
- Volkswagen news
- Beetle images

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.



2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. Image by Volkswagen.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©