2013 new New Beetle Convertible in the Grinding Gears Garage

Images courtesy Volkswagen

Images courtesy Volkswagen

Little did I know when I received the keys to the 2013 New Beetle Convertible recently that I would spend most of my week testing it having to defend my manhood. Apparently that is a side effect of driving the fun little droptop, especially when it arrives in the “mellow yellow” that mine did.

The 2013 New Beetle Convertible was intended to “man up” Beetle’s image a bit by giving it a bit more masculine design while also removing the “no nukes/save the whales” flower vase from the dashboard. I guess they still have a ways to go as several times during my week I had my “man card” checked. Perhaps I should have slapped a “I wish I was riding my Harley” bumper sticker on the rear or perhaps one that read “My other car is the SVT Raptor” – maybe that would have saved me from some of the chiding.

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

Despite that, the 2013 New Beetle Convertible is a blast to drive, top up or down. Most of our week was spent with the top up as Mother Nature apparently did not get the memo from the little groundhog in Punxsutawney. Regardless, we have a lot of fun and even the grand baby had a blast on that one day we were able to slip his child seat into the rear seat area and lower that cloth top.

One thing I did find amusing in the Volkswagen press information on the Beetle Convertible is the list of competitive class vehicles. For the Turbo car VW lists the Camaro and Mustang – interesting. Would not have been the ones I would mention but yes, I see their point there as the V-6 versions of these cars would perhaps be cross-shopped by some (until their manhood gets questioned, then they’re out the door of the VW dealership fast).

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

This is the third generation of the Beetle Convertible, the first arriving in 1949 of which VW sold 330,000 over a 32-year span. Another 234,619 models of the second-gen Beetle Convertible sold over an eight-year period after it was introduced last decade.

The New Beetle rides on a longer wheelbase and features a wide track over its predecessor, something readily apparent when pushing the new Convertible through the corners and twisties. I really enjoyed my week in the V-dub thanks in part to the Turbo package that pairs a 200hp 2.0-liter four with choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Our tester came with the manual gearbox and the combination shifter and clutch were a breeze to operate in all driving conditions.

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

On the road the Beetle Convertible is soft and compliant, soaking up all the rough surfaces into its strut-type front and multi-link independent rear suspensions. The Turbo model Beetles get VW’s XDS cross differential (limited slip) system that automatically transfers torque to the front wheel or wheels with the most traction.

All New Beetle models are front-wheel drive and feature the engine mounted up front, transversely. In the rear is the trunk space, which is a bit tight by today’s standards for cargo space although most folks will likely use the rear seat area for cargo more than they will for passengers despite VW calling the car a four-seater. Yes, there is more legroom in here than other coupes and convertibles on the market but truly, how many of you are really cramming passengers back there?

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

The entire structure is fairly rigid for a convertible but there is still some shimmy and shake on rough stretches of road and with the top up a little wind noise is apparent but expected from a cloth-topped vehicle.

Convertible top operation is snap via the one-button control and it can be operated at up to 31 mph in case one finds themselves driving with no where to pull off the roadway safely. It stows in an area behind the rear seatbacks and above the trunk space (the cause for those tighter trunk dimensions I mentioned). Safety rollbars pop up from behind the rear seatbacks in the event of a catastrophe and as with all Volkswagens the Beetle features all of the latest safety technology.

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

We tested the 2013 New Beetle Convertible Turbo Convertible with Sound package that sees a starting MSRP of $29,195. The base Beetle Convertible starts at just under 25 grand and VW even offers the TDI turbo-diesel option in the Beetle Convertible.

Yes, my wife would have looked much better behind the wheel of the 2013 New Beetle Convertible than I did (that is true on all the vehicles I test) and yes, they offer more manly body colors than this. I have no problem saying I love the styling of the new New Beetle (third generation) in Coupe and Convertible and am glad VW offers several retro packages for the model line. That said, Yellow Rush would not be MY first choice for body color.

2013 new New Beetle Convertible

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2 replies

  1. The new look+feel of the Beetle reminds me a *lot* of the Audi TT. Have you driven one of those, David? How do they compare?


  1. Gear Diary » 2014 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible Lets the Good Times Roll