Updated: Saturday, 25th October 2014 @ 11:41am

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet set to breathe new life into open-top car market, launching at LA auto show

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet set to breathe new life into open-top car market, launching at LA auto show

By Mancunian Matters staff

The next chapter in the unique story that is the Volkswagen Beetle is set to bring a breath of fresh air to the open-top car market... the new Beetle Cabriolet.

The original Beetle Convertible (type 15) first launched in 1949, and the New Beetle Cabriolet followed in 2002. 

Yet 2012's Cabriolet marks the third generation of the curvaceous Volkswagen soft-top that offers unprecedented practicality and open-top driving fun for four.

Its unmistakable silhouette has given an iconic status to the different generations of the Beetle.  The fact that over 330,000 units of the original Beetle Cabriolet cars were produced from 1949 to 1980 speaks for itself.  

In creating the latest version of the Beetle Cabriolet, Volkswagen has reinterpreted the timeless design of bygone days and given the silhouette a sportier and more dynamic look.  The combination of a flatter roofline and the more upright windshield gives the car a silhouette that resembles that of the legendary original Beetle Cabriolet.

The new model also incorporates design cues from the modern Volkswagen line-up: the air inlet under the bumper, the flat contour of the hood’s bottom edge and in particular the tail lights show the car’s close family ties.  

In the new Beetle Cabriolet, Volkswagen brings together modern technology and the highest standards of quality with the emotional legacy of the car’s ‘forefather’.  As on the nostalgic icon, the headlights retain their classic shape.

Another feature contributing to the special charm of the new Beetle Cabriolet is the traditional soft top.  When open it lies very flat, enabling good vision to the rear.  Despite its compact construction, the top is very wide and elongated in shape.  It opens and closes entirely automatically (on all models) within around 10 seconds, including on the move.

Standard on the Beetle Cabriolet is a soft-top cover, which, if desired, tucks the opened top neatly away.  Surrounding chrome trim accentuates the borders between steel and fabric.  

As in other Beetle models, the compact instrument panel with an extra large round instrument cluster and several nostalgic elements, such as the additional glovebox, create a markedly different design inside the new Beetle Cabriolet as well.

With its spacious and comfortably designed interior the Beetle Cabriolet is a real four-seat vehicle.  The 225 litre boot includes a fold-down symmetrically split rear bench seat which allows bigger items to be transported even when the roof is closed.

To provide added safety in the event of a rollover accident, Volkswagen has developed an active rollover protection system.  It consists of two extendable modules fitted inside the vehicle in concealed fashion behind the back of the rear bench seat.

If the car were to roll over, the two rollover modules would be activated via the central airbag triggering unit.  Along with the fixed A-pillars, they provide effective protection for the occupants of all four seats within a matter of milliseconds.  Another extra safety feature is the standard front and head-thorax airbag system.

The new Beetle Cabriolet will be available with seven engines.  The entry-level engine is a highly efficient 1.2-litre TSI with 105 PS.  Straight after launch, the BlueMotion Technology version of this petrol engine will also be available.  

The other petrol options are the lively 1.4-litre TSI and the 2.0-litre version, producing 160 and 200 PS respectively.  

Diesel engines comprise a 1.6-litre TDI with 105 PS (also available as a BlueMotion Technology version) and a 2.0-litre TDI with 140 PS.

The Beetle Cabriolet will make its world debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on 28 November and is due to go on sale in the UK in spring 2013.  Prices and specification details will be announced closer to launch.

To keep up to date on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.