TEST DRIVE: Volkswagen’s Beetle Cabriolet

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THE newest soft-top in Volkswagen’s range, the Beetle Cabriolet, certainly turned heads on one of the rare sunny days we’ve enjoyed recently, writes LES OLIVER.

With the top down the Beetle displays a degree of individuality.

Combine this with VW’s state-of-the-art safety, the latest technology and comfort, add a dash of style and you can see why the Beetle has been an enduring icon down the decades.

The original Beetle was launched in 1938 and was known just as “the Volkswagen”.

Since then it has earned a number of nicknames, from Bug to Herbie and appeared in countless films and on TV.

With total convertible sales of around 1.42 million, Volkswagen is one of the world’s most successful producers of cabriolets.

The first Beetle convertible appeared in 1949 and the soft top was continued with the New Beetle in 2002

The latest Beetle Cabriolet is 29mm lower, 152mm longer and 84mm wider than its predecessor.

The changes give it a much bigger boot - at 225 litres it is some 24 litres larger than the previous model

The rear seat bench can be folded and the hood with a glass rear screen folds automatically in just 9.5 seconds, even on the move at speeds up to 31mph.

It can be raised in 11 seconds and a tonneau is provideded to cover when folded.

Three petrol engines are available, 1.2-litre 105PS; 1.4 160PS; and a 2.0-litre 210PS.

There are two diesels, 1,6 105PS Bluemotion and a 2.0 140PS. Gearboxes are five or six-speed manual or six or seven-speed DSG.

Three trim levels are available and all models have air-conditioning, remote central locking, DAB radio, , rear ISOFIX seat preparation and a rear spoiler.

For the launch, three special editions have been created, including the stylish ‘50s Edition featured here.

The car was powered by the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine which has just won the “Engine of the Year Award” in the 1.0 to 1.4 litre category.

New Beetle Cabriolet prices range from £18,405 to £26,510.

TECH SPEC

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 50s Edition

Engine: 1.4-litre petrol

Power: 160bhp

0-60: 8.6 secs

Top speed: 128mph

Economy: 41.5mpg

CO2: 158g/km

Price: £24,895