Nine seconds. That’s the time it takes for Volkswagen’s adorable new 2013 Beetle Convertible to drop its top and put a Cameron Diaz-style smile on your face.
Pull down on a windshield header flap, the six-layer top automatically unlatches, then whizzes back in less time that it takes to say pass me the SPF15.
On sale this December with prices from just $24,995, this Bug droptop arrives just in time for winter and the official start of Florida Convertible Season. For the best Bug in the range - the Beetle Turbo with Sound, DSG and leather - you’ll pay around $32,000. But what a fun, and pretty luxurious, little car it is.
Whereas the last Beetle Convertible was all cutesy flower vases and Jell-O mold styling, this all-new model looks and feels sportier and more substantial - and is a lot more fun to drive.
There’s a choice of three terrific engines. The base car gets the creamy-smooth 2.5-liter 170-horse five-cylinder with a six-speed auto as standard.
For performance fans, there’s a 200-hp four-cylinder turbo with a choice of either a six-speed stick or six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic. My favorite? The punchy new 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel which returns a miserly 41 mpg on the highway.
Volkswagen really has done a terrific job of delivering a super high-quality convertible packed with cool features, like advanced roll-over protection, push-button start, fancy leather upholstery and an ear-warping Fender premium audio system.
The drum-tight, multi-layer canvas top is as thick as a comforter and, when raised, keeps wind noise to a whisper. But with the top dropped, the side windows raised and the rear wind blocker in place, there’s hardly a breath of air to fluff-up your follicles. Even at 75mph.
And as before, this Beetle Convertible is a practical four-seater, with split-folding rear seats and a good-sized trunk.
But to drive it is to love it. It steers precisely, rides smoothly and carves curves like its running on rails. And if you opt for the Turbo model with the dual-clutch DSG auto transmission, it really feels as if you’re driving quite a sophisticated little sports car.
And the best performance figure with this new Bug? That would be zero-to-sunshine in nine seconds.