With its cloth convertible top open, the Beetle Convertible loses the low roofline that gives the standard Beetle its aggressive posture. In its place, the open-air cabin seems inviting, friendly.
If the weather turns foul, or you've had enough sun, the top goes back up at the press of a button in "a little over 10 seconds," according to Volkswagen. A fold-down split rear bench seat expands the cargo area.
Roll-over safety for the Convertible is achieved through two roll-over bars concealed behind the back of the rear bench seat. In the event of a crash, the same computer that deploys the airbags can deploy the bars. Together with the A-pillars, the bars provide a measure of clearance should the Beetle Convertible end up on its back.
In other details, the Beetle Convertible is the same as its hardtop mate, including the body-colored dashboard.
At launch, the Beetle Convertible will be available with a choice of three engines: the 2.5-liter in-line five-cylinder rated at 170 horsepower; the 2.0-liter TDI diesel four-cylinder good for 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque; and the 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI gasoline engine rated at 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5-liter engine comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission; the other two offer a choice between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
In TDI form, when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, the Beetle Convertible scores an EPA estimated 41 mpg on the highway. Pricing for the 2013 Beetle Convertible lineup will be released closer to the car's launch in the fourth quarter of this year.