Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
Volkswagen went way back to the drawing board with its reimagining of the Beetle. The new Beetle (VW has dropped "New" from the name) draws its inspiration from the original Beetle that was made from 1938 through the 1970s. The modern Beetle is almost certainly better in every way-- it features a lower, flatter roofline and a more aggressive stance. The engine is now up front, reflecting modern car design. Overall dimensions have grown, which translates to more interior room for passengers. Those passengers get a combination of retro simplicity in the gauge layout, elegance in the quality of cabin materials and high-tech in the available gizmos and gadgets.
The Beetle comes in three basic trims--the base 1.8T, the TDI and the 2.0T. The base model utilizes a 170-hp, 1.8L 4-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a standard 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. The TDI features a 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine good for 140-hp mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The 2.0T delivers 210 hp from a 2.0L direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder. Like the TDI, the Turbo is available with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG.
The Beetle shares its underpinnings with the new Jetta, which include front struts and a rear multi-link setup. Steering-feel will feel very familiar to those who have driven previous modern Beetles, though the driving experience has changed significantly, thanks to the revised A-pillar angle and accordingly, the abbreviated dashboard, bringing the driver closer to the action.
A convertible version gets a power-folding fabric top. The top folds in 9.5 seconds and will operate at vehicle speeds up to 30 mph. Convertibles feature the same engine and transmission lineup as the coupe, and the modest weight increase barely hinders performance.
Base trims come nicely equipped with cruise control, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and a 50/50 split folding rear seat. On the technology front, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and a media device interface with iPod cable are also standard.
Base models can be equipped with a powered panoramic sunroof, a Fender premium sound system and navigation.
TDI models add a premium touchscreen-based audio system that features SiriusXM satellite radio and Volkswagen's new Car-Net telematics system. TDIs can be optioned up with a sunroof and integrated navigation.
The 2.0L Beetles come in R-Line and GSR trims. The R-Line gets 18-inch machined alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable mirrors, a lip spoiler, the Car-Net system, fabric seat trim and carbon-fiber look instrument panel accents. The sunroof and navigation can be added as well. The up-level 2.0T GSR Beetle is only available in a special black and yellow 2-tone paint job. It gets special 19-inch alloys, standard navigation and Fender audio, leather seats, proximity entry and push-button start.
Safety comes standard as well in all 2014 Beetles, with anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and combined curtain and side front seat airbags.