Meet the latest Volkswagen Beetle convertible. Instead of waiting for its official unveil at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show next month; Volkswagen has decided to unveil its new ragtop Bug today. Entering its third generation, the Beetle still features many simple design traits first seen in the type 15, which was originally introduced in the U.S. back in 1949. The New Beetle reintroduced them in the convertible body style in 2003.
For the latest Beetle convertible, Volkswagen imitated the coupe variant with sporty and dynamic body lines. The flattened out roofline and a windshield that sits more upright give the latest Beetle convertible a look similar to the original convertible. Volkswagen chose to stick with a soft-top roof rather than go with a folding hardtop, paying off as it can fold down in just over 10 seconds. The roof is designed to lie flat giving the driver good rear visibility. A hardtop can be stowed in similar fashion but it adds much more weight.
Inside, the Beetle continues on with a body-color dashboard and a gently refreshed instrument cluster similar to what’s been seen in prior model years. Volkswagen claims the Beetle can fit four adult passengers and their luggage comfortably. We recently had the fixed-roof Beetle in for a week of evaluation and found that both leg and headroom were ample for adults. The convertible variant also features a fold-down split rear bench seat that gives way to more space in the trunk.
There will be three different engines available for the Beetle convertible: the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel four-cylinder engine rated at 140 horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission will also be available with the TDI diesel engine. The third engine offered in the latest Volkswagen Beetle is a 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder, which is rated at 200 horsepower and mated to your choice of a six-speed manual or a DSG automatic.
In the event of a rollover, the Volkswagen Beetle is equipped with an Automatic Rollover Support System, which deploys two rollover bars that are hidden behind the rear bench seat. These bars, along with the airbags, deploy in milliseconds when the onboard computer detects a roll over is imminent.
Volkswagen will announce pricing for the third-gen Beetle closer to when it’s launched in North America. The Beetle convertible will begin showing up at dealerships across the country at the end of the year.
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