Since it's release in 1998, the modern rendition of the Volkswagen Beetle has filled many with a sense of nostalgia for the iconic bug. The cute little retro car immediately tugged at heartstrings everywhere.
Riding on the newer third generation body style released in 2010, German automaker Volkswagen has taken up the fun quotient by releasing a convertible version. Slightly bigger than the previous model, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle remains sleek and modern in it's execution while maintaining it's distinct profile and funky styling. Offering the best fuel efficiency in a convertible, more interior space, lower pricing and better standard equipment, the Beetle trumps it's biggest rival, the Mini Cooper Convertible.
The soft cloth top of the convertible can open in 9.5 seconds, and can be operated at speeds of up to 50 km per hour via a simple pushbutton and takes only 11 seconds to close back up.
Later this year we can expect to see a turbo version and possibly a diesel model.
The new Beetle looks a little more masculine, having ditched it's flower vase, added a spoiler to all trims and given it a slightly more athletic look in hopes of attracting more male buyers to the wider, lower, bolder car. Seventy-two percent of earlier models of Volkswagen Beetles, were purchased by women, but with recent changes that number is more even; 40 percent - 50 percent of the turbo models are now purchased by men. In Canada, those numbers are closer to 50-50. Upping it's masculinity, the turbo and turbo diesel models come with extra Porsche-style gauges on top of the dash.
Originally developed as "The People's Car" under orders from Hitler, the Volkswagen Beetle never truly hit it's stride until well after the war was over. Since the 1960's, it's become a type of 'cult car' in North America, appealing to both the hippie and the surf culture with it's unique design, quirky looks and affordable price. The car could even float on water as was demonstrated in a 1972 Volkswagen commercial due to it's tight construction and sealed floor pans.
Canadian fans of the Volkswagen Beetle will see the 2013 convertible hit their local showrooms in early February. Not that Canadian's need a convertible anytime soon, but we'll definitely be itching to drive one on those odd warm days in March.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca