Road & Track
The Mini ragtop suddenly has a rival. Volkswagen’s new Beetle Convertible gives off “an air of action-readiness” that Mini fans might find familiar, and there’s more to this low-slung Bug than “mere appearance.” Little more than a year after rolling out a hardtop Beetle with a “distinctly more masculine” look than its bubbly ’90s predecessor, VW has begun selling a drop-top edition whose stiffened chassis and retuned suspension yield impressive results on “the fun-to-drive index.”
The interior is “shockingly great for the price point.” Despite a few retro touches, the cabin simply “smacks of ineffable German rightness,” establishing a welcome theme: For a car that’s making a primarily emotional bid to potential buyers, this Beetle is “surprisingly practical”—a novelty act that’s also “just a good car, period.” The top goes up in just 11 seconds, and even the driving visibility is fantastic.
All three available engines are “well up to the job of propelling the vehicle.” But mileage buffs will want to spring for the diesel TDI, which delivers a 41-mpg highway rating. For roughly the same $3,000 premium, driving enthusiasts can get a 200-hp turbo. Now if only VW would release a tuner model: It could make “a compelling poor man’s Porsche Boxster.”