The latest Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet makes improvements across the board and brings the classic shape up to date with a more sporty attitude. Underneath the underpinnings are much the same as the solidly built Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet and the engine range is similar too but the Beetle has a personality of its own. While the Beetle looses the quirky details of the previous generation (notably the dashboard mounted vase) it has a youthful retro style that is less Ikea and more Herbie. Interior and luggage space is noticeably better than the Mini Cabriolet – perhaps its closest rival.
A broad range of engines cater for most drivers and offer better performance than the previous generation. The DSG paddle-shift gearbox is smooth and responsive.
The entry level 1.2 TSI Beetle Cabriolet has a lot going for it. The engine sounds tiny but thanks to the TSI technology it punches above its weight. Around town it is quiet and smooth but push it hard on the open road and it is surprisingly tuneful and goes well. The 1.2 suits the Beetle well and has both the most attractive price and the best petrol economy. The lightweight engine means that the cars handling is the best of the range making it a pleasure to weave through twisty roads.
The 1.4 TSI powered VW Beetle Cabriolet gets a welcome boost in power over the 1.2 which makes it nicely punchy when overtaking and yet refined when cruising at speed. The cost of the extra power comes in the form of fuel economy although this is still at an excellent level. The manual gearbox is nice to use and gives full use of this flexible engine. It may be a small engine but this is likely to be all most buyers will need and the low weight results in more nimble handling.
The 2 litre VW Beetle Cabriolet is the most powerful car in the range and thanks to the clever TSI technology it remains efficient and economical while giving a high power output. TSI uses direct petrol injection combined with both a turbocharger and a supercharger to squeeze the most out of relatively small engines. In the Beetle this engine makes for an entertaining drive and hot-hatch style performance but the slow steering takes the edge of the excitement.
If you are going to be driving a high mileage the 1.6 TDI Convertible Beetle is the one for you. While its aerodynamics can't quite match the Bluemotion convertible VW Golf with the same engine on MPG, it comes pretty close. The diesel engine is frugal on fuel and produces low emissions while still providing the fun that you want from the Beetle. Performance isn't exactly exciting but it doesn't feel dreadfully underpowered either. For some drivers this option will be the sensible excuse for a decision that has otherwise been lead by the heart!
The 2 litre turbo diesel powered VW Beetle Cabriolet is both comfortably powerful and refined. So much so in fact that it is hard to tell it from the petrol alternatives. Although not quite as frugal as the 1.6 TDI it is still a very economical car. It is an engine that performs well in every aspect and can give an enjoyable turn of speed on low running costs.