Even you, no doubt, have some history with the Beetle. And even if you don't, the bug has such a compelling presence that even young children will stop, point and smile. The weekend I had the turbocharged New Beetle 1.8 T convertible in mellow yellow with a black roof, it rained. So, I couldn't drop the top and show it off to its best advantage. However, the power top opens and closes in about 13 seconds – simply by unhooking the latch and pushing the power button. When folded down and stowed, the effect is much like the classic top-down look of the original Beetle convertible.
The New Beetle (note the new name) is a pleasure to drive. The turbo charge makes all the difference in oomph, the size gets you parking spots anywhere, and there was more than enough space for my weekend dose of 15 bags of groceries. (I fit 10 in the trunk).
It's in the details and the bug is getting even more refined-even VW's color of yellow has calmed down. The optional 6-speed tiptronic system for manual shifting is appealing if you want to feel slightly sporty, the 16 inch alloy wheels give it sex appeal. The interior decorated in perforated rubber and well-placed chrome touches makes it look like a well-designed toy. I wouldn't give it a thumbs up on seat comfort but I would give it an A on a well-thought out cockpit.
One of the reasons for the Volkswagen's high level of safety is the rollover protection system, which comes as a standard feature. The automatically deployed device extends to a height of 265 millimeters within 0.25 seconds if a sensor detects an impending rollover or crash. This system, fitted behind the rear seats, together with the reinforced windscreen frame, protects the passenger compartment.
The standard passive safety elements of the Volkswagen, which include front, side and curtain airbags and specially designed energy absorbing side panels, are complemented by active safety elements such as ABS and ESP with the brake assist system.
Now entering its second model year, the New Beetle convertible is available in GL and GLS models with a 2.0L in-line four-cylinder engine with 115 horsepower. The GLS model also is available with the Volkswagen 1.8 T turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine tuned to 150 hp. using 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. All 2004 Volkswagen New Beetles have tuned suspensions using McPherson struts and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering characteristic of Volkswagen the New Beetle convertible offers many standard features, including: CFC-free air conditioning and integrated pollen and dust filter; rear-seat air and heat vents; power side mirrors with defrost/defog; a glass rear window with defroster; power locks and power windows with pinch protection, one-touch up/down switches and a driver's door single-switch for simultaneous operation of all the windows; a central remote locking system; height adjustable, telescoping steering column; cruise control; and illuminated, covered vanity mirrors.
Suggested price: GLS 1.8 T $24,820.