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Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is Back

Volkswagen introduced a restyled, more masculine version of its iconic VW Beetle for the 2012 model year. The automaker has continued to round out the model line with a TDI Clean Diesel version, and by the end of 2012, the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible will return to showrooms.

Aside from its retractable soft-top roof, which lowers in about 10 seconds, according to Volkswagen, the 2013 Beetle Convertible’s exterior doesn’t stray from the redesigned coupe model. “Based off of the refreshed Beetle hatchback that launched in 2012, the new Convertible looks — well, it looks like a Beetle,” says Motor Trend.  

The Beetle Convertible also offers the same engines that are available with the hardtop model. The base engine is a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder clean diesel engine and a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine are also available, and either can come with a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Currently, Volkswagen is mum on most of the Beetle Convertible’s standard features and hasn’t released pricing information, but the base Beetle is one of the most expensive affordable small cars. Starting at $19,795, it comes with standard features like Bluetooth, an auxiliary port, iPod interface and faux-leather seats. As you add engines and features, prices quickly reach $25,000 and higher.

The Beetle Convertible isn’t the only retro-styled car available with a power soft-top roof and turbocharged engines. The Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper offer convertible body styles and several available engines. The Fiat 500c has a base price of $19,500, and its standard features list includes amenities like Bluetooth and an auxiliary input jack. The Mini Cooper Convertible starts at $25,850, and comes with these items, but adds an iPod adapter, HD Radio and faux-leather seats.

Both the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper are subcompacts, so neither offers much interior space. Most car reviewers say the front seats are comfortable, but the rear seats are cramped. In particular, the convertible models don’t have much passenger or cargo space, though that’s typical of convertibles.

With their base engines, the Fiat 500 (101 horsepower) and Mini Cooper (121 horsepower) aren’t very fast, but with their optional engines, the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper are powerful for their sizes. The Fiat 500 Turbo makes 135 horsepower and the Fiat Abarth’s turbocharged engine produces 160 horsepower, though neither engine can come with a convertible body style. The Mini Cooper S tops these numbers with a 181-horsepower engine, as well as a 208-horsepower turbocharged engine in the John Cooper Works model.

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