As we approach the inevitable end of warm weather, we're still trying to take full advantage of our resident summer-mobile, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible. The Bug has seen even more summer lovin' lately with road trips to Milwaukee, the shores of Lake Michigan, and the Road America race track in Wisconsin.
This month, a debate emerged over the Beetle's 2.0-liter turbo engine. On a trip back from Lake Michigan, deputy editor Joe DeMatio praised the Beetle's highway demeanor and powertrain. After friend of the magazine Scott Corlett was less than complimentary of the turbo four last month on his 3000 mile road trip through the northeast, DeMatio felt the need to temper the negative comments by revealing the contents of Corlett's personal garage: two E39-generation BMW 5-series models. Maybe Corlett is simply accustomed to powertrain perfection from the company that has "motor" in its name.
However, associate web editor Jake Holmes agreed with Corlett, remarking that the 2.0-liter doesn't have the same spunk here as it does in other VW 2.0T models. Holmes found the Beetle Turbo to be "lazy, lethargic, and thoroughly reluctant to build any boost," adding, "It doesn't help that the long, ropey shift linkages feel like they come from an economy sedan, not a performance Volkswagen."
Apart from rants about the powertrain, most editors were thrilled with the VW's top-down motoring experience. Compliments abounded about the Beetle's lack of wind buffeting thanks to an effective air deflector, the quick roof operation, and the Fender audio system's great sound even with the top lowered.
Fun in the sun with the Beetle's top down did have a few downsides, however, as associate web editor Evan McCausland found on a quick jaunt to lunch. After leaving the Beetle's interior exposed to the sun for just a few minutes to grab a bite, McCausland noted, "These seats seem to soak up as much thermal energy as possible." Luckily for us Michiganders, though, the Beetle's tan leatherette seats are heated, which we will definitely appreciate come winter.
The Beetle also received its first scheduled service this month, with a free oil change and tire rotation at 9760 miles. Even after an unscheduled service in June to fix a rattle in the door, numerous editors still complained about the Beetle's unseemly noises. "This car sounds like it's rattling itself apart," said one staffer. "The doors and windows all rattle, clunk, and clank." The combination of sill-less windows with a fabric convertible top isn't great for the Beetle's structural integrity.
Still, new associate editor Greg Migliore seemed to capture the Beetle's essence after his first stint in the Bug. "I had fun in the Beetle convertible. That's the point of this car. It's blood red, and, duh, it's a convertible. Obviously, I didn't overthink the Beetle, but I was spent after getting through my first late night at the Automobile office, and a cute convertible was the perfect tonic to completely unwind."