12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible - Fun in the Sun

September 5, 2013
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible Front View
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Long-Term 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Update - FALL 2013 (1 OF 3)
Miles to Date: 11,731
"A cute convertible was the perfect tonic to completely unwind."
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."
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible Left Side View
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."
Body style 2-door convertible
Accommodation 4-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Base price (with dest.) $28,590
As tested $29,990
Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
Displacement 2.0 liters (121 cu in)
Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque 207 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Four-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy 21/30/24 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electrically assisted
Lock-to-lock 3.0 turns
Turning circle 35.4 ft
Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
Wheels 18-inch aluminum
Tires Hankook Optimo H426
Tire size 235/45R-18 94H
Headroom F/R 39.3/37.6 in
Legroom F/R 41.3/31.4 in
Shoulder room F/R 55.3/43.1 in
Wheelbase 100.0 in
Track F/R 62.1/61.2 in
L x W x H 168.4 x 71.2 x 58.0 in
Passenger capacity 81.4 cu ft
Cargo capacity 7.1/29.9 cu ft
Weight 3230 lb
Weight dist. F/R xx/xx%
Fuel capacity 14.5 gal
Est. fuel range 350 miles
Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)
STANDARD EQUIPMENT Power convertible roof Sport suspension Fog lights Adjustable interior-ambient lighting 8-speaker audio system Auxiliary audio jack Height-adjustable front seats Heated washer nozzles 50/50-split folding rear seats Cruise control Tilt-and-telescopic steering column Bluetooth Air conditioning Heated front seats
Sound package $1,4090 9-speaker Fender audio system Keyless entry and ignition SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel

Long-Term 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Reviews to Date:

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Photo Gallery

  • Our Beetle stands out with its eye-popping Tornado Red paint.
  • This Veedub is happiest with the top down.
  • The Bug hits the open road.
  • Editors were divided on the Turbo's boost potential this month.
  • The tan interior can get hot when it's left out in the sun.
  • The six-speed manual was polarizing as well.

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