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2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Test Drives, Volkswagen

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Beauty Right HAW Done Small

There’s just something about the new VW Beetle convertible that evokes instant response from people who come into contact with the all-new convertible model in the Beetle lineup.  When parked I had youngsters, teenagers, seniors, all bug-eyed over the new car.  It just sparks positive comments.  It’s really not cute, it’s a Beetle!  It’s the third-generation of the iconic VW ragtop and like its predecessors-the type 15 from 1949, and the 2003 Beetle convertible-the curvaceous styled convertible offers the perfect combination of sun-on-your-face and wind-in-your-hair fun for four persons.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Beauty Right LA Up Done Small

The styling of the new Beetle convertible harkens back to the original 1949 ragtop rather than the 1998 new Beetle.  It respects the past but looks forward to the future.  The new Beetle convertible breaks free of the design geometry defined by three semi-circles-front fender, rear fender and domed roof above it.  The roof profile actually runs distinctly lower and can be considered a development of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005.  The new model is bolder and more masculine.  It is characterized by a clean and dominant sportiness feeling.  The car is not only lower in profile, it is also substantially wider, the front hood is longer, the front windshield is shifted further back and has a much steeper rake.  Up front is a squared-off jaw bumper, oval halogen headlamp clusters with a lower black contracting wide air-intake and LED daytime running lights at each end.   At the side are pronounced flared fenders, pull-out door handles, heated/power-remote sideview mirrors, a full-perimeter chrome strip and another chrome strip under the doors giving it off a luxury touch.  The rear features angular LED lamp clusters, a round bumper, the VW badge that flip up to open the trunk, dual exhaust tips gathered together under the left side of the bumper, while up top is a wide spoiler to help increase downforce at highway speeds.  Volkswagen decided to stick with a traditional soft-top rather than incorporate a folding hardtop as seen on the VW EOS.  When the top is down, it lays flat, giving good rear visibility.  Although the top looks compact when furled, it’s actually wide and long when in place, an action that takes a little over 10 seconds at the touch of a button.  The soft-top outer shell itself is made from three layers: an outer one of polyacrylic women fabric, a middle layer of synthetic rubber, and an inner lining of polyester.  Underneath, there’s a three-layer design for the insulation, made from polyester nonwoven fabric, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) insulating fleece, and polyester spunboard.  The headliner is made from a foam-laminated fabric resulting in a snug top that yields remarkably low levels of wind noise.  Top options include a boot and a noise blocker that fits just behind the front passenger seats.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Beauty Side Top Down Done Small

Since this vehicle is open, the body needed reinforcements so that cowl shake would be kept at a minimum.  These reinforcements include the use of body reinforcements and sheetmetal with greater strength such as the A-pillar’s interior bar is 0.5mm thicker and made of ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel instead of cold-formed metal.  There is also reinforcement in the ‘bend area’.  The front crossmember has an additional central plate.  There is additional tubing made of ultra-high-strength (hot formed) steel between the B-pillars as well as a stronger heel plate.  There is more sheetmetal in the lower body sidemembers and an extra rear panel that integrates the Automatic Rollover Support System is made of high-strength steel.  As a result of the new materials and laser welding of selected parts, the body stiffness was increased by 20% over the last Beetle convertible and torsional rigidity is now 17.8Hz.

You can easily reach highway speeds with the 2.5 liter, inline-5-cylinder, 20-valve, engine with variable intake timing.  This advanced engine generates 170hp at 5,700rpm and 177lb.ft. of torque at 4,250rpm.  Other engine options include the 2.0 liter Turbo and the 2.0 liter turbo diesel.  My test Beetle convertible came with the 2.5 liter I-5.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Engine Done Small

This potent engine was mated to the slick shifting 6-speed automatic with sequential shifting including a Sport mode for even quicker acceleration.  Fuel economy values have been improved by up to 10% over the previous 2.5 liter models when equipped with the six-speed automatic.  EPA estimated fuel economy rating is now 22mpg/city and 29mpg/highway.

The fun-to-drive attitude of the new Beetle convertible is attributable to its front strut suspension system with how control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and a 22mm anti-roll bar for quick turn-in and flat cornering capabilities.  The rear features a torsion beam axle, coil springs and telescopic dampers to help keep the rear inline when driving through curving roads and added stability at highway speeds.  The hydraulic power-assisted rack & pinion steering gives a good feel for the road with excellent response to your inputs.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Beauty Rear HA Done Small

Slowing the new Beetle convertible down from speed are power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.3 inch vented discs and 10.7 inch solid discs in the rear.  Each disc is clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS, EBD and ESC help keep you in control during severe braking situations on slick or wet pavement, plus keeping you from skidding off the road when taking the Beetle through curves at higher than posted speed limits.

My test Beetle convertible rode on 215/55R17 inch all-season radials wrapped around unique black painted with signature VW chrome hub caps for a signature VW look at rest.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Dashboard Done Small

Inside, the new Beetle convertible retains the design cues that have made the latest Beetle such a hit with a body-color dashboard.  The leather bucket seats in my test Beetle had carbon fiber weaving at the sides.  Three round gauges are surrounded by an aluminum trim and provide key information at a glance.  The multifunction display is integrated in the speedometer, which is housed in the central position in the binnacle.  The leather wrapped/tilt/telescopic steering wheel feels great in your hands and contains redundant buttons for the audio system, Bluetooth and cruise-control.  Framed by two air-vents, the audio/navigation system in my test Beetle is optimally located in your field of vision on the dashboard.  Within easy reach, the climate controls are situated just below.  Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox integrated into the upper dashboard-the kaeferfach or ‘Beetle bin’.  The lid folds upward, while the standard glovebox opens downward.  Even though the ‘cathedral ceiling’ dome roof of the new Beetle has been replaced with a sleek and sporty roofline, front and rear passenger headroom remains plentiful.  The longer roof section results in 0.4 inches more rear-seat headroom.  Front legroom is improved also, by 1.9 inches, and front shoulder room grows by 2.5 inches.

My test Beetle convertible came equipped with the awesome Fender system with its concert-quality audio.  It is the result of Panasonic speaker technology which cuts through noise and its dual-voice coil speakers that faithfully reproduce the sound of a live performance.  The sound system consists of a 10-channel amplifier making 400-watts of power, to four Fender Deluxe tweeters, two Fender Twin speakers, two Fender rear speakers and one Fender Bassman subwoofer in the trunk.  This unique sound system is a pleasure to listen to with the top open or closed.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Beauty Side Top Up Done Small

Standard equipment not mentioned above include one touch up/down windows/door locks, dual cup holder/storage bin up front with a single cupholder in the rear, storage pockets in the door, keyless entry with push-button start/stop, leather-wrapped shifter surround by a chrome bezel, AM-FM-CD/MP3/Sirius satellite radio with iPod input jack, A/C, trip computer, dual map lights and front/rear floor mats.

Standard safety features include three-point safety belts for four seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, two rollover bars are concealed behind the rear bench seatback activated by the computer that deploys the airbags in the case of a crash, front and head-thorax airbags, steel beams in each door, front and rear crumple zones.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible Front Seats Done Small

Classy and classic, more dynamic, more powerful, more convenient with the latest in infotainment systems to keep you in touch as you drive with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair.  It’s pure fun!  Prices start at $24,995.00.



  • Price: Base VW Beetle Convertible 2.5 $24,995
  • Fuel tank: 14.5 gallons
  • Turning circle: 35.4 ft.
  • Passenger volume: 81.4 cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 7.1 cu.ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.3/37.6 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/31.4 inches
  • Wheelbase: 100 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.1/61.2 inches
  • Total length: 168.4 inches
  • Total width: 71.2 inches
  • Total height: 56 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,206 pounds

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