Despite Volkswagen attempts at making the Beetle more masculine through exterior design cues, I’m not sure any amount of redesign will change the feminine qualities of the Beetle Convertible -- but I sure wasn’t bothered by its girliness.
What is a Volkswagen Beetle Convertible?
Essentially, the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is a Beetle without a top. Pretty simple, really. This latest generation of Beetle was redesigned for 2011. A follow-up to the New Beetle (introduced in 1997), this Volkswagen Bug offers up more masculine cues and design language, as well as a bit more of a return to the original Beetle.
The Convertible variant of the new generation of Volkswagen Beetle wasn’t released until 2013 alongside the coupe.
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Price and Specs
The Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is available in two trims, Comfortline and Highline. My particular tester (dressed to the nines) was the Highline trim that ensured the Tornado Red/Nutria Beige Roof colour combo and starts at $31,740. After adding a Technology package to the mix (which adds in the must-hear Fender audio system as well as navigation and a few other goodies) my tester’s final tally came to $33,030.
Along with a topless ride, you get VW’s 2.5L inline 5-cylinder engine – which is already being replaced with the new 1.8L I recently tested. The engine is good for 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, and is handled via a 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic sport mode -- though no paddle shifters are available.
The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet’s top drops in just 10 seconds, which is pretty fast. With the roof folded you lose no trunk space and rear visibility is still accessible (unlike another cabriolet I recently drove…)
Driving the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
This drop-top is a blast to drive. Thankfully, the sun decided to show for a few days while I was behind the wheel so I was able to fully enjoy the Beetle Convertible’s fun-in-the-sun nature.
I’m happy to report that the new 1.8L engine in the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is just as enjoyable to drive as the 2.5L. Both are peppy and responsive, but let’s focus on the 2.5L. The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is happy to rev high when pushed, holding out on shifts when needed. However, around town it is as calm and docile as you’d want it to be, with seamless gear changes.
I did wish for paddle shifters. I dislike shift-lever gear changes in automatic cars, so didn’t use it at all. However, Volkswagen’s 6-speed transmission was well-behaved enough that it was never confused about gear selection, no matter what the situation.
Handling in the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is also quite good. Compared to the hard-top variant of the Bug, the Convertible loses a bit of its overall stiffness, but not enough to cause concern or even be noticeable, really. The vehicle feels planted and good, even when pushed.
Inside and Out of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
There’s no denying the Beetle went through a more macho press this time around. While still quite “bubbly” to look at, the more aggressive front face and angular rear suggest a more manly nature, and make the car look a bit speedier, too.
Maintaining the shape and silhouette of a vehicle is hard when you cut the top off, but Volkswagen managed quite well with the 2013 Beetle Convertible. Even topless, the curve of the roof is “visible” and the vehicle loses not an ounce of character.
The 17” alloy wheels, as well as various chrome accents and the sporty rear spoiler (standard on either trim level) add to the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible’s personality and more modern appeal. I quite liked the red/beige colour combination, as well as the red inserts throughout the cabin (which some thought was a bit much).
Top up or down there’s quite a bit of space in the cabin of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, even the backseat can be comfortable for an adult (and a baby seat fit without trouble). My only gripe is with the trunk, which isn’t wide or deep enough to fit even an umbrella stroller.
Comparing the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
The closest competition that immediately comes to mind is the MINI Cooper Convertible. However, the MINI drives much better than the Beetle. You could also cross-shop with a Mustang Convertible, which offers a different kind of character and style behind the wheel, and a bit more space in the back as well.