Back To The Bug: The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Review [Video]
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The Volkswagen Beetle has always been a statement of a car being known for its practicality. This 3rd generation 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet drop top variant is as stylish as ever with more space and comfort to play with along with better engines and equipment. Modern and affordable, this development on one of the most recognisable motoring icons has definitely taken a step upmarket. It’s all about character and gives that proper ‘wind in your hair’ experience that convertible buyers strive for.
The general styling, although certainly modern, has a lot more in common with the original Beetle model with its big flared wheel arches and dynamic curves. The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is bolder and less cutesy as well which is a good move away from its previous reputation as a ‘girls’ car. It’s also longer, lower and wider than before which gives it a touch of sportiness about its bearing. The heavy duty fabric roof of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet mechanically folds back in the conventional fashion to sit on top of the boot.
This does block your view out the back a bit so it is very much advised that you spec it with the all-important rear parking sensors. There is a removable cover that you can use to attach over the folded fabric to give the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet a cleaner look at the back. It does the trick, but to be honest it’s quick difficult to put on though so many people probably won’t bother with this feature. The drop top mechanics are virtually silent and allow the roof to come up in 11 seconds and fold down in 9.5 seconds.
Luckily, the bonus of it folding onto the boot top area is that it doesn’t eat up into the boot space, which in this case is bigger than before at 225ltrs. A decent number for a car of this kind and if this isn’t enough you can also release the back chairs so they fold down too. The back seating area of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is nice and spacious compared to other compact cabriolets with more headroom and a good amount of comfort. The cabin design has also taken a retro step in nodding to the original in a modern fashion.
This means the flat near-vertical dash (in this case coloured the same as the exterior paintwork) with twin glove boxes, which are nice but are a teensy bit on the tiny side. There are also elastic straps in the place of the traditional door bins, which are an interesting touch, but hardly lets it win in the practicality stakes. The driving position of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is set a lot more forwards than before, attributing to feeling much more like a driver. You’ll also notice the removal of the annoyingly gender specific dash flower holder in the place where a set of 3 dials now sit.
The Volkswagen Beetle was never famed for its favourable driving dynamics. The previous incarnation of the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet was stylish, but lacked in the handling and chassis departments to the point that it became a sort of bad stereotype of style over substance. Thankfully, the VW engineers have taken this on board and completely redeveloped the oily bits to ensure this has next to nothing in common with the substandard dynamics of its predecessor. The quality of the ride is pretty exceptional for a compact convertible thanks to the multi-link suspension setup – something most regular 3rd generation Beetles or even lower order VW Golf’s aren’t privy to.
The result is a ride that prevents you feeling too much from terrible road surfaces. There is a 20% improvement in body stiffness and it won’t wobble about much over road blemishes. The steering of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is still a bit vague but it does turn willingly when you want it to. This is especially true when specced with the XDS electric differential lock which micro brakes the inside front wheel on tight bends, sharpening the turning greatly. The fabric roof can be operated in speeds of up to 31mph which is pretty good because no one likes having to drop to a snail’s pace just to drop the roof.
The effect of being down is blustery as expected, but this can be greatly reduced by winding the windows up and putting up the rear wind deflector shield. Under the bonnet, we have a selection of 6th generation VW Golf engines which are more modern than the power plants on offer before. The majority of 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet buyers will get the 1.2ltr TSi petrol or the 1.6 TDi diesel models which have an output of 105ps which gets it to 62mph in 12 seconds up to a top speed of 111mph. If it’s extra power you want then VW will oblige you with the 200ps 2.0ltr TSi petrol or the 140ps 2.0ltr which are propelled off the line to 62 in 7.6 seconds and 9.9 seconds respectively up to top speeds of 139mph and 122mph. It’s worth noting that the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is not at its best at these speeds though. The engine with the best balance is the 160ps 1.4ltr TSi petrol unit which hits 62mph in 8.6 seconds up to a top speed of 128mph.
All in all, what’s the lowdown with the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet? This new take on the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is everything its predecessor should have been. The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet’s got a better driving experience, more efficient engines, extra boot space and a touch of characterful retro styling. It can be said to be a bit of a fun indulgence, but hey it’s a Beetle convertible – that’s precisely what it was made to be. It also has the good grace of being a good enough car in general should the novelty wear off on you.
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