Topless Beetle ready

for fun in the sun

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, front, action, roof down
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, front, static
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, front, action, roof up
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, side, roof down
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, side, roof up
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, interior

SUNSHINE, sunflowers and a sunroof - all factors immediately associated with the iconic VW Beetle Cabriolet.

The sunshine may be a tad sporadic these days and the sunflower may no longer adorn the dashboard, but one thing is guaranteed - as soon as the temperature rises and the rain showers ease, the Beetle Cabriolet is a great car to be buzzing around in.

The latest generation car is lower, longer and wider than its predecessor meaning front seat occupants can stretch out with plenty of leg, head and shoulder room.

And there is plenty of choice for buyers who can pick from a selection of three petrol or two diesel engines with a choice of transmissions.

There are three trim levels - Cabriolet, Design and Sport - to select from and in addition, three special models have been created - a 50s Edition, 60s Edition and 70s Edition - which all have their own bespoke features on top of the mid-grade Design trim level.

I tried out the 60s White Edition 1.4-litre 160PS petrol model with six-speed manual transmission.

This car was priced at £26,115 and can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.6 seconds topping out at 128mph. According to VW figures it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 41.5mpg and carbon emissions of 158g/km.

The interior of the Beetle Cabriolet is beautifully styled and VW has gone back to its original models to get inspiration for the dashboard which is taller than on most cars.

The car looks striking from any angle with its alloy wheels, black electric power hood, heat insulating glass, body-coloured door handles, chrome trim, rear tailgate spoiler and plenty more besides.

And the interior is feature-rich with techno treats such as dual-zone climate control, heated red and black leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, DAB digital radio, six CD autochanger, USB and iPod cables and a Fender premium sound pack.

There is a real sense of quality about the interior design and all controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use.

The boot is a little limited capacity-wise and loading is hampered by its small rectangular-shaped opening. Elsewhere though, there are plenty of handy storage options throughout the car, including a double glove-box and door pockets.

The roof can quickly and easily be lowered at the press of a button at speeds of up to 31mph in just 9.5 seconds and the car's fun factor seems to increase ten-fold with the wind-in-the-hair driving experience. There is something about us Brits and open-top motoring that is impossible to fathom out, but we seem to relish it at every opportunity.

The Beetle Cabriolet is just as at home cruising around busy city centres as it is out on the open road where it accelerates smoothly through the manual gearbox with ample power on tap as and when required.

All-round visibility is okay, although not brilliant through the small rear-view window where the two rear headrests obscure the view considerably.

But that aside, the Beetle Cabriolet is fun, fun, fun all the way. It oozes class and there is something exhilarating about getting behind the wheel of a Beetle that always puts a smile on people's faces.

As one would expect, the vehicle boasts a comprehensive list of safety specifications, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stabilisation programme, a flat tyre indicator and numerous airbags.

All in all the Beetle Cabriolet is a welcome arrival for summer and with prices ranging from £18,405 to £26,510 there is a model to suit all budgets.

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