You should be careful what you wish for. Maybe I should be more specific, you should be careful when you ask for it. Last year the big news was VW’s introduction of the third generation Beetle. This year, it’s the addition of a convertible Beetle. I didn’t drive the third generation beetle in at the time of its 2012 launch, so I was hoping for a go in the convertible for 2013. Then, I got exactly what I wished for and a 2013 Beetle Convertible Turbo showed up at my door, in November.
I had the sportiest drivetrain available in the Beetle though, so I was happy. I hoped Colorado would deliver some great weather and I got to testing.
The latest Beetle is really a good looking vehicle. It’s much more masculine looking, has great stance and with the top down actually has one of the more aggressive looking rear ends in the segment. Volkswagen has done an excellent job with the interior as well. The design is contemporary and Volkswagen has done a great job of masking the fact that it is mostly made of hard plastic. It looks more expensive than it is, even the black vinyl seats were comfortable and well built.
VW’s 2.0-liter turbo four did not disappoint. In fact, I would say it is one of my favorite four cylinder powertrains. The 2.0T has a good bit of torque at 207 lb.ft. which allows it to get underway briskly. As you get the engine spinning at higher RPM the turbo kicks in and you hit 210 horsepower which allows the car to hit 0-60 in a little under 7 seconds. Throughout the powerband the car stays refined, it doesn’t pull like a banshee when boost kicks in. The Beetle also delivers solid fuel economy with an EPA estimated 21 city / 30 highway. I averaged about 27 mpg’s during my time with the car.
I wouldn’t call the ride in the Beetle Turbo sporty, it’s agile, grounded, refined and consistent. The car rides very comfortably. The combination of front wheel drive, electronic stability control and the Turbo-exclusive, limited slip differential, make the car very stable on ice or snow.
In addition to the engine and the roster of standard equipment on the base models, Turbos also get a sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, alloy pedals, fog lights and a dash top trio of auxiliary gauges. Through the D-shaped steering wheel are a trio of round gauges. The controls for HVAC and the sound system are simple to use and intuitive. The Fender sound system is a worthy upgrade. Head and leg room are ample up front and the seats are very comfortable. Back seat leg room vanishes quickly with taller front passengers. A long, thin, covered center console doubles as an inside arm rest. It also covers up one of the two, front cup holders. The Convertible’s trunk isn’t large — at 7.1 cubic feet — but it’s bigger than much of its competition. Rear seatbacks fold for more storage.
Now to the droptop. One expects a droptop to be thin and drafty, not so with the Beetle Turbo. The top is thick, well fitted and completely draft free. It almost feels warm, if that makes sense, like a giant blanket covering the interior. During my week with the car Colorado provided temperatures from the 10s to the 70s and the heater was more than capable of keeping the interior toasty and comfortable. The only downside I identified with the top is compromised rear visibility. In warmer weather, of course, you’ll want to drop the top. A single button press is all that’s required to lower the top in 9.5 seconds or raise it in 11 seconds.
The Beetle Convertible Turbo is a very well rounded vehicle. It’s just sporty enough without compromising comfort and is perfectly capable of driving through all the seasons. The drop top doesn’t hurt the functionality of the car in any way and itself functions flawlessly. Overall, I’m hard pressed to find much I don’t like about the car. When it comes to something you can live with day in, day out, there is nothing to touch the Beetle Convertible Turbo in its class.