Sunday, 23 September 2018

A severe case of Beetlemania

THERE are certain cars that as an enthusiast you admire and have a desire to own one day: it never

THERE are certain cars that as an enthusiast you admire and have a desire to own one day: it never goes away. One such car for me is the Beetle Convertible.

My convertible of choice would be a 1960 VW 1200 Convertible. During that decade — the time of my youth — the convertible enjoyed great success but alas was always out of reach.

The only time I seriously considered buying one was on an expedition into deepest Middlesex only to find to my disgust a Beetle convertible riddled with rust.

But in 2013 there is a new incarnation — now called the new Beetle Cabriolet — and very nice it is, too. I drove one at a Volkswagen event in Wiltshire recently. And, unashamedly, I loved this car.

This was not so much the case with the preceding model Beetle Cabriolet.

I believe that was not so attractive and did not emulate the original design enough to give it that magic look but this new version for 2013 is right on the money. I hope to drive the car at a later date and give you a more comprehensive appraisal.

But for now something on the new car: the new Beetle Cabriolet made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2012 at the same time it became available to order in the UK ahead of the first cars arriving in April of this year.

The Beetle Convertible originated in 1949 and continued with the New Beetle Cabriolet of 2002. More than 330,000 original Beetle Cabriolets were produced from 1949 to 1980, and more than 230,000 New Beetle Cabriolets were built in just eight years.

This latest Beetle Cabriolet is 29mm lower, 152mm longer and 84mm wider than its predecessor. These measurements might seem minimal but they add up to a sleeker, more stylish look. The UK engine range follows that offered in the Beetle coupé. All engines are direct-injection, four-cylinder turbocharged units. The three petrol engines are a 1.2 litre TSI 105 PS; a 1.4 litre TSI 160 PS; and 2.0 litre TSI 210 PS.

The two diesel engines are a 1.6 litre TDI 105 PS BlueMotion Technology and a 2.0 litre TDI 140 PS. Gearboxes are five- or six-speed manuals or six- or seven-speed DSG units.

I liked the turbo-power of this new Cabriolet, especially teamed with the seven-speed DSG (automatic) gearbox.

The hood is much improved and the speed of opening and closing impressive and useful: I drove the car in our lovely summer drizzle and when it was too much to keep going with the hood down, snug shelter from the rain was only a few seconds away.

As I said, watch this space for more information and a more detailed appraisal on the new Beetle Cabriolet.



By Nigel Wigmore

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