Maybe it was a first car, or maybe something special happened in it. Perhaps it was or is your favorite car. Everyone seems to have a Beetle story. I’ve owned two bugs, and both remain special in memories.
That’s why it is with sadness that I report that one variant of the venerable Beetle -- the Beetle convertible -- will be no more after 2019.
But dry your eyes, VW is introducing a 2019 Final Edition to celebrate the 70 or so years that the Beetle has been around. The new Beetle convertible will be offered in four trims: S, SE, Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. The base trim starts at$25,995.
There’s a world of difference between the Beetle I drove in college and today’s Beetle convertible. For starters, with standard blind spot monitoring and rear traffic alert, the new Beetle is much safer. It’s got four airbags, anti-lock brakes, a rearview camera and all the required stability and traction control systems. All Beetle convertibles for 2019 will have blind spot monitoring and rear traffic alert. Extras like automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers weren’t even on the radar when my bug motored down Highland Road to LSU.
The Final Edition SE trim adds keyless entry and pushbutton start, leatherette seating, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, special badging, Composition Media infotainment and SiriusXM Radio.
The Final Edition SEL adds all the bells and whistles, including 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and fog lights, leather seats, Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net security and Fender premium audio.
Powering the 2019 Beetle is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 174 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy estimates are 33 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city.
The Beetle Convertible has a soft top, which can be opened in 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The soft top also allows the car’s profile to closer match the iconic original 1949 type 15’s. Also like the original Beetle, there are two “Beetle Bins” (gloveboxes) in the dash.
The Beetle’s iconic round shape has long meant plenty of headroom for the taller among us. You’d have to be Shaq-sized to have trouble fitting under the Beetle convertible’s 39.3 inches of headroom in the front seats. In Row 2, headroom is 37.6 inches. Legroom in back is 31.4 inches.
Beetle convertibles feature Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment with up to a 6.3-inch touchscreen that works like your laptop with swiping, pressure and pinch-zooming. Upper trims have an available Discover Media system with navigation. USB ports are standard, as is Bluetooth. Volkswagen’s Car-Net app expands connectivity with a wide range of features aimed at connecting, security, service and information. The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
On the road, the Beetle convertible is engaging as well as entertaining. More for cruising down the main drag with the top down than ripping down the interstate with the big rigs, the Beetle convertible has decent acceleration and handles well. And if you want to bust through hard turns and curves, the car remains fairly flat.
There are Volkswagens that are fast and there are Volkswagens that are luxurious. But the Beetle convertible is Volkswagen’s fun car, aimed at people who like to smile, laugh and love life.
I really enjoyed my time with the Beetle convertible. I waxed nostalgic about my college days, then remembered my young kids screaming “punch-buggy, no take-backs!” as they playfully punched each other in the shoulder when a Beetle came into view.
If you’ve always thought it would be cool to own a new Beetle Convertible, this year will be your last chance to make that happen.
2019 Beetle Convertible Final Edition SE
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 174/184 Lb.-ft.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 479 miles
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