AutoMatters: 2013 VW Beetle Turbo Convertible


By Jan. R. Wagner

The beach, the sunsets, the surf. Whether experienced at the end of a short drive from home or work, or as a special reward on a much deserved vacation, the 2013 VW Beetle Turbo Convertible makes this, and so much more, not only possible but easy to achieve.

With a simple press of a button, you effortlessly lower the top and the windows. Recline the comfortable sport seats, sit back and relax, as the sound and the sights of the ocean fill your senses. Look up and you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the sky.

Of course getting there is only part of the good times, when your convertible of choice is the 2013 VW Beetle Turbo.

With the top down, getting in and out is a breeze. Imagine being able to stand up and simply walk out of the back seat. You can with a Beetle convertible. Try doing that in a two-door hardtop coupe.

The power is exhilarating, thanks to the 2.0 liter, 16-valve, turbocharged and intercooled engine that produces 200 horsepower at 5100 rpm, and a maximum of 207 lb-ft of torque at 1700 rpm. This engine responds forcefully when you press hard on the accelerator, yet it can also return impressive average fuel economy numbers on your daily commute (29 mpg highway and 21 mpg city with the available, high-tech, DSG automatic transmission).

The DSG transmission shifts in three modes: Drive, Sport and Manual. Each serves its purpose well.


This Beetle feels solid and well built. The suspension (struts in the front, multilink in the rear, coil springs all around) is firm, yet not overly stiff which, when combined with the standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), four-wheel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and available, well-bolstered, leather-surfaced sport seats, gives the 2013 Turbo Beetle Convertible secure, safe, comfortable handling. Factor in the powerful turbo engine and the advanced, six-speed DSG automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and your drives will be a joy – whether on two-lane, twisty blacktop or multi-lane freeways.

At 7.1 cubic feet, the trunk is not exactly spacious, but the rear seatbacks do fold down to extend the cargo area when needed. If cargo space is an issue, you might not want to carry around the cover for the lowered convertible top on a daily basis, and instead save it for car shows and special occasions. The wind blocker, on the other hand, folds easily and stores conveniently in a bracket that is high and out of the way in the trunk.

This Turbo was especially well equipped. It included a high-performance Fender Premium Audio System with Panasonic speaker technology. Audiophiles will appreciate “a 10-channel amplifier that provides a whopping 400 watts of system power to four Fender Deluxe


tweeters, two Fender Twin


speakers, two Fender rear speakers, and one Fender Bassman


subwoofer.” Music sounds crisp, clear and powerful. The controls are easy to use and the displays are easy to see while driving.

You’ll find clever touches throughout. In the glove box, there is a Media Device Interface (MDI) with an iPod® cable. Outside, pressing down on the top of that large VW badge at the back of the car will reveal that the badge is actually a convenient handle that opens the trunk lid.

The 2013 Beetle Turbo Convertible, with a six-speed manual transmission, starts at $27,795 plus $795 destination fee. The convertible reviewed here was fully loaded, complete with premium Fender touchscreen audio, navigation, DSG automatic transmission, leather-surfaced sport seats, trip computer, keyless access, multi-function steering wheel and more. It stickers at $32,295 plus destination fee.

At the end of your day, after the sun sets, I recommend taking a nice, relaxed drive under the stars along the coast. Then find a quiet restaurant, press the button to raise the top and go have a nice dinner. It just doesn’t get much better than this.


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Copyright © 2013 Jan R. Wagner – #274