The new Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet has made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and at the same time is available to order in the UK ahead of the first cars arriving in April. It’s the latest chapter in a unique automotive story that started with the original Beetle Convertible in 1949 and continued with the New Beetle Cabriolet of 2002. Over 330,000 original Beetle Cabriolet cars were produced from 1949 to 1980, and over 230,000 New Beetle Cabriolets were built in just eight years.
In creating the latest Beetle Cabriolet, Volkswagen has reinterpreted its timeless design, creating a silhouette that is at once instantly recognisable and yet sportier and more dynamic. At 1,473 mm tall, 4,278 mm long and 1,808 wide (excluding mirrors), the latest Beetle Cabriolet is 29 mm lower, 152 mm longer and 84 mm wider than its predecessor.
The increased dimensions add visual dynamism and road presence, and have a direct benefit on interior and luggage space. At 225 litres the boot is 24 litres larger than that in the previous model, while the rear seat bench can also be folded. The windscreen is also moved rearward, modifying the contours of the roof and creating 12 mm more headroom in the rear. The multi-layer hood with glass rear screen folds automatically in just 9.5 seconds – even while driving at up to 31 mph – and can be raised in 11.0 seconds. A tonneau is provided to cover the roof when folded.
The UK engine range follows that offered in the Beetle coupé. All engines are direct-injection, four-cylinder turbocharged units. The three petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS; a 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS; and 2.0-litre TSI 200 PS. The two diesel engines are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS BlueMotion Technology and a 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS. Gearboxes are five- or six-speed manuals or six- or seven-speed DSG units.
The Beetle’s standard equipment list includes ESP electronic stabilisation programme including brake assist and hill hold features, and a network of airbags as well as a standard rollover protection system, which pops up from behind the rear head restraints in milliseconds if certain lateral acceleration or tilt values are exceeded.
Three trim levels will be available in the UK: Beetle, Design and Sport. The 1.2-litre TSI and 1.6-litre TDI engines are offered in Beetle or Design trim and the 1.4-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TDI engines come in Design or Sport trim. The range-topping 2.0-litre TSI 200 PS is available only in the Sport model. Specification levels are high: the standard Beetle comes with air conditioning, remote central locking, an RCD 310 CD system with DAB radio, rear Isofix seat preparation and a rear spoiler.
Moving to the mid-level Design trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels in a choice of two styles, Bluetooth telephone preparation with MDI (multi-device interface) iPod connectivity, front fog lights, an alarm, an RCD 510 DAB CD/radio, multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel and body-coloured door and dashboard panels.
The range-topping Sport specification brings 18-inch alloys in a choice of two styles, cruise control, sports seats, parking sensors, gloss black door mirrors, dashboard and door panels, 2Zone electronic climate control and additional sports instrument dials on the top of the dashboard.
A wide range of optional equipment is available, including Keyless Access, satellite navigation systems and bi-xenon headlights. The option that is expected to make the biggest impact is the Fender sound pack. Developed with the legendary electric guitar firm of the same name, this audiophile’s delight offers a 400W output and a subwoofer, along with switchable three-colour illumination surrounding the front loudspeakers.
For launch, three special edition Beetle Cabriolet models have been created: the stylish ‘50s Edition’, the cool ‘60s Edition’ and the elegant ‘70s Edition’. The ‘50s’ comes exclusively in Monochrome Black paint, with black-painted ‘Orbit’ 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome door mirrors, a black hood and black or beige leather upholstery. The ‘60s’ is available with ‘Denim Blue’ or ‘Candy White’ bodywork, a black hood and blue-and-black or red-and-black leather. The ‘70s’ model has beige leather upholstery and a beige hood to match, along with chrome door mirrors and ‘Java Brown Metallic’ paint. Every special edition model is offered with a 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS engine and six-speed manual gearbox.
From Motorin News