February 18, 2018


VW_Beetle_Cabrio_50s_Review_writeonmotoring_01Volkswagen’s latest version of the Beetle Cabriolet now combines more sharply defined lines with styling cues harking back to the air-cooled original.

Sitting alongside the regular trim line-up are three special edition cabriolet models: 50s (as tested here), 60s and 70s.

Just like the hatch, the Beetle Cabriolet is powered by a selection of direct injection, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

The new model has bigger dimensions, meaning more space for both occupants and their belongings: the boot now offering 24 litres of extra capacity – although it’s still considerably smaller than the hatch’s and there’s the usual restricted boot aperture access associated with convertibles.

9.5 seconds is all it takes for the Beetle to drop its roof and a slightly longer 11 seconds to button-up again. What’s impressive, however, is that the roof can be raised while on the move – up to speeds of 31 mph.

Beetle’s strong safety cell, incorporating rollover protection, full supplement of airbags, and traction control (ESP), means that wind-in-the-hair motoring can be enjoyed in safety.

All cabriolets get air-conditioning, remote central locking, and a RCD 310 CD system with DAB radio, rear Isofix seat preparation and a rear spoiler.

A judicious use of retro styling can be found inside Beetle’s cabin, yet not at the expense of modern functionality and comfort. Reassuringly there’s the trademark VW quality to cabin materials, switchgear and instruments, but Beetle’s interior manages to be individual, fun and funky, too. Further customisation can be had with a choice of different colour interiors that either match or contrast the exterior body colour.

VW_Beetle_Cabrio_50s_Review_writeonmotoring_20On the road the 1.4-litre TSI engine gives the Beetle a likeable and endearing character. With roof down, you’ll be able to enjoy a fruity exhaust note, along with the turbine-like whistle emanating from the turbo and supercharger. The dual augmentation results in 160PS and 240 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 4,500 rpm – more than enough to enjoy the Beetle’s capable chassis and communicative steering and pedals. Only the operation of the six-speed gearbox slightly disappoints, not possessing the fluid slickness of the Golf’s. Although far from being the most efficient engine in the range – with a careful right foot this 1.4 litre will still return a respectable combined 41.5 mpg (claimed).

As with many soft top cars, rear vision is significantly more restricted than the tin-top equivalent, but parking sensors can be specified and front and side vision is improved over the previous Beetle. It’s also now easier to place on the road.

VW_Beetle_Cabrio_50s_Review_writeonmotoring_13Refinement levels aren’t far off the hatch and although lowering the roof introduces more wind noise, actual buffeting is well controlled, especially with optional wind deflector fitted. The perception of road roar is reduced, too. But more importantly, the exposure to the elements (weather permitting) simply makes the rag-top Beetle even more fun to drive.


Volkswagen’s new Beetle Cabrio builds on the success of its predecessor, with sharper retro-modern looks and an improved tactile feel to interior fit and finish. It’s a more engaging drive as well, while providing decent levels of comfort and refinement, undercutting an equivalent Golf Cabrio on price – although still commanding a significant premium over the Beetle hatch.

Tech spec:

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 50s Edition
OTR Price: £24,895.00
Engine: 1390 cc, petrol, supercharged and turbocharged
Gearbox: 6 speed manual
Max power: 160 PS @ 5800 rpm
Max torque: 240 Nm @ 1500-4500
Max speed: 128 mph
0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 158
Claimed combined mpg 41.5
Insurance group: 22



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