VW Beetle Cabriolet 2 0 TSI (2013) CAR review Road Testing Reviews … — Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio

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Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio

VW Beetle Cabriolet 2.0 TSI (2013) CAR

By Ben Pulman (photography by Greg

First Drives

14 March 09:00

VW’s range boasts two drop-tops: the Golf and folding hard-top Eos. the retro-styled VW Beetle joins the contingent, and CAR has driven it in 2.0-litre guise to see how it stacks up.

Clearly that we winter-weary, Vitamin Brits would burn silly and write deludedly things while suffering a of sunstroke, VW launched the new Beetle in Los Angeles. But SoCal refused to so this retro-style ragtop got a test: steady rain with torrential downpours.

VW overlord Ferdinand Piëch be about to fire his entire team for not block-booking the sun, but the Pacific Coast Highway the roof down would taught us little about how the Beetle Cabriolet handles our weather. In fact, after through Santa Monica, rock falls on nearby Highway, and getting very wet our Kiwi photographer insisted we put the down for pictures, we actually away rather impressed. is a good convertible.

There are three layers of in the fabric roof, and three of external cladding, so it doesn’t like you’re sheltering in a tent on a Scouts camping whenever the rain is lashing And there’s much less roar than in the Golf itself on par with the Nissan Roadster for rubbish refinement. thick fabric C-pillars the Beetle does have a big blindspot.

So, the VW Beetle has survived conversion – what’s the roof

That multi-layered hood up in 11 seconds, folds away in 9.5, and works at up to 31mph. You even need to unlatch it; press and hold a button by the mirror. With twin motors, the operation is nearly too – the electric windows make noise than the roof. that with the Beetle’s Convertible rival, whose sounds like it’s given the wrong work as it wheezes the roof into like a pensioner struggling out of favourite armchair.

The Beetle’s – like its predecessor’s, and the Mini’s – concertinas down to sit, atop the rear deck than snugly beneath bodywork, but it no longer juts so far out as to resemble one of those inflatable cushions so beloved of long-haul passengers. It’s still not the crumple of cloth though, so a (standard) tonneau cover you can cover it with – but it must be a to fit as VW didn’t bother to supply one in our car.

What’s life like in the VW Cabriolet?

With the roof the wind whips strongly across your shoulders to the seatbelt quiver, but with the up the buffeting is much reduced, and the wind deflector in place the rear seats) the interior calmer still. Of course not Boxster-stiff, but there’s no obvious either: the A-pillars are thicker on the Beetle coupe and built stronger steel; there’s reinforcement across the floor, and the new Beetle Cabriolet is 20% more than the car it replaces (confusingly by Volkswagen as the New Beetle Cabriolet. Is the Newer Beetle Cabriolet Extra New? Really

How does the VW Beetle Cabriolet

On the road it’s no Mini to drive… but then that’s no bad You sit much lower in the Mini, meatier steering and a much and more responsive front but there’s also terrible steer, an awful ride, and a ageing interior. The Beetle electric steering might be remote (only the non-European aspirated 2.5-litre gets a rack) but it’s linear and the ride is much more (every Cab gets multi-link suspension whereas all bar the 2.0T are stuck with a simple beam) and the diff-aping XDS electronics there’s next-to-no wrist-tugging to with.

What did you reckon to the

Our car’s 197bhp 2.0-litre engine (the same one in the Mk6 Golf GTI, but detuned to Mk5 GTI power) rasps and burbles the gearbox is light and slick, the accelerator pedal makes the cheeky heel ‘n’ toe gearchange easier than in the new Mk7 Golf test on page 68) and the steering rim is pleasingly Rolls Phantom-thin.

Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio

You’d have more fun along Mulholland in a Mini, but get it as a with a sunroof instead and unduly compromise a great car for those odd occasions when actually warm enough to the top. If you want a decent cabrio then the Beetle sense. Unlike the Mini, and the Mk6 Golf GTI cab, it isn’t to be something it’s not. than feeling like a version of a great hot hatch, it like a brisk (and convertible.

More sensible – all direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder – are available, and the 104bhp 1.2-litre TSI is likely to be the biggest seller. a meatier 158bhp 1.4 TSI too, and a of 1.6 and 2.0 TDIs. Prices start at for the 1.2 TSI, which is about £3k than the Beetle coupe, but about £3k less than own lacklustre Golf Cabriolet and Eos.

What’s the toy-count on-board the Beetle?

Trim levels? Three of Beetle, with air-con and a DAB Design, which adds connectivity, a multi-function leather-wrapped wheel, 17in alloys and door and dashboard panels; and err, sporting ‘sports’ 18in wheels, cruise parking sensors, dual-zone control, and a triumvirate of additional (including a boost gauge) the dash.

There are three models too. Based on the 1.4 the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s have been created to up feelings of nostalgia in those who the original Beetle Convertible between 1949 and 1980. is designed to evoke a decade, varying results, the 1970s being burdened with leather, a beige roof and paint.

Mercifully our car was a bright red (the only spec for the 197bhp engine) and roof up or it looks pretty good – lower, longer and wider the car it replaces, the styling (inspired by Ragster concept) now sharper and like an over-inflated balloon

Cabin quality is much too, with everything you push, prod and squeeze ahead of the Mini. Except the little piece of plastic which the rear seatbelt sprout.


At £24,975 as tested, as pricey as a hotted-up John Works Mini Convertible and £4k more than a Cooper S. But the is more practical, more more refined, easier to with, nicer to drive, and as quick. Buy the Mini if you want the handling car, but you’ll get a convertible if you opt for the Beetle Cabriolet.

Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio
Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio
Volkswagen Kaefer Cabrio


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