2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Turbo


Most people have a soft spot in their heart for the Bug because it was popular in the 60s, man.

My sentimental feelings for the peanut-sized Beetle, though, are because it was the first-ever car I reviewed back in 2000, when “the net” was still something you threw over a crazy person. Since then, I haven’t exactly been infested with test Beetles, but I have had four for a week each.

You want to know how rockin’ the 2014 Beetle is? I had given back a Rolls-Royce Ghost in exchange for the Beetle, and I didn’t mind at all. Why would you mind a pint-sized powerhouse with a quick-dropping roof, a rich sound system, plenty of room for your crizzap, and being able to park it in a postage-stamp sized space in midtown Manhattan for no money? No need for a “my other car is a Rolls” sticker.


My first Bug of the two—the Turbo—shares suspension, a 6-speed manual transmission and a 200 horsepower 2.0 litre engine with Volkswagen’s GTI hatchback. It won “best engine,” but the ice-cream white exterior reminded me of a refrigerator. The second Beetle was red—much better color—but its Diesel engine was a total lug, with no fun in the acceleration and a supposed driving expert—me—still stalling out 5 days after I had the car. Note to self: Give it a LOT of gas before letting go of the clutch. Couple of ladies in a parking lot snickered at me one time when I stalled, too.

I leaned on the Turbo for the entire test, wanting to see how much it could take and how it responded to a heavy-handed, heavy-footed driver, and I was pleased it returned each serve with a strong response of its own. Curves were hugged at high speeds, brakes were smashed and the car instantly halted, and available freeway slots were reached quickly when I stepped on it.

It’s got a 2.0 litre turbocharged 200 horsepower engine, a welcome stability control system, ABS brakes, independent front and rear suspension, a tire pressure monitoring system, and all the latest safety features. In fact, if I was going to hit something and had a choice of small cars to do it in, I’d pick this thick-walled, sturdy peanut.

The small-convertible market is busy these days, but the Bug squashes all competitors.


More info, including a variety of Bugs offered this year.

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Josh Max grew up on a rural Westchester road next to a garage, and designed his first car, the "Washington" - an answer to "Lincoln" - when he was four. He read and memorized the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Car Care And Repair at 16 and was soon gapping plugs, changing clutch cables, rotating tires and anything else that didn't require a lift. He has test-driven over 776 cars and trucks and published over 2,000 articles in major media. http://www.JoshMax.com