The new – but still iconic – Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet, or convertible, has plenty of retro charm, and adds to this appeal with the option of top-down motoring for those days of the year when air is clear and the sun is shining – which happily for us in Qatar means most days of the year.
When you think of VW, especially when looking at a ‘beetle’, you may be reminded of Woodstock, flower power and that funny vase on the dash. And that proves how really good the brand is; VW has been building reliable cars, loved cars, for a long time and still has a great reputation for high quality plus reliable and durable engineering.
But in these modern times, with new buyers perhaps not having those old memories, the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle has to stand on its own merits. And, even if you put aside its historic DNA, you get to drive an intriguing compact car that strips away the function of a more conventional hatchback like the VW Golf and offers distinctive styling inside and out. You also have perhaps the only affordable and still practical four-seat convertible on the market.
We like the Cabriolet’s turbocharged engine. The 2.0-litre engine is smooth and powerful, has a lot of punch and sounds great, while the sophisticated DSG gearbox is an excellent compromise for those who want the convenience of an automatic with the performance and control of a manual. The Beetle’s handling is respectably adept; when cruising city streets or on the highway, you’ll be comfortable and the suspension shrugs off any bumps or ruts in the road.
From a functional perspective, it is pleasing that this retro, iconic car has features, controls and construction that are 100% contemporary, such as the large new easy-to-use touchscreen interface. Eye-catchingly, the power-retractable soft top folds down in about 10 seconds and it can be operated at speeds up to 50 kph.
The Beetle Cabriolet provides plenty of room for tall drivers, the rear seat also has decent headroom, and you can still get a large suitcase in the boot!
ENGINE 2.0 litre, TSI turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, direct fuel injection
TRANSMISSION Six-speed dual clutch direct-shift gearbox (DSG) automatic with manual shifting mode
MAX POWER 210 hp (157 kW) @ 5,100 rpm
MAX TORQUE 207 lb-ft (281 Nm) from 1,700 rpm
ACCELERATION 0 – 100 kph in 7.3 secs
MAX SPEED 229 kph (140 mph)
EXTERIOR It’s easy to trace the Volkswagen Beetle’s looks back to the retro, rear-engined original. Despite this, it’s undergone numerous styling changes – now it’s lower, wider and longer – which has helped to give the latest generation car a much more aggressive, muscular look; the curves of the previous generation have been replaced by a flatter bonnet and sharper roofline, although in spite of the changes you could never mistake the latest Beetle for anything else and yes, it still looks great!
INTERIOR Multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel; leather handbrake and gearshift knob; leather sports seat with lumbar support; mobile device interface; multifunction display; Fender sound system with eight speakers
SAFETY/SECURITY Dual front airbags and side/curtain airbags; electronic traction and stability control systems; ABS with brake assistant; ASR; EDL; EDTC; front and rear parking sensors; reverse camera; keyless locking and starting system; Intelligent Crash Response System
Q-Auto on Salwa Road will be pleased to arrange a test drive of the VW Beetle Cabriolet or any of its sporty cars and SUVs for Marhaba readers. Call 4445 2333 or visit Volkswagen Qatar website
Author: Terry Sutcliffe
Note: This article has been extracted from Marhaba’s Issue No 66 Autumn 2016 from the ‘Motoring’ section. For more car reviews, pick up Marhaba’s Issue No 66 Autumn 2016 only QR20 from the nearest hypermarket or bookstore to you.
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