Since it first went on sale in December 2012 as a 2013 model, the third-generation Beetle Convertible has been a success story for Volkswagen. The sportiest and most dynamic version of the iconic softtop seen so far has quickly become one of the best-selling convertibles in the U.S.
For 2015, the Beetle range receives a modest number of enhancements. A new, limited-edition trim-Classic-joins the lineup, offering unique seat fabric, RNS 315 navigation, and a six-speed automatic transmission. 17-inch "Circle" alloy wheels are also available on this trim, and can be white or black, depending on the exterior color.
Like the Beetle, the Beetle Convertible also receives the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI(R) Clean Diesel engine, improving the EPA estimated highway fuel economy on the automatic transmission model by 3 mpg, to 40 mpg.
The Beetle Convertible retains the bold, purposeful stance of the Coupe, thanks to wider tracks and a longer wheelbase than the previous New Beetle Convertible. Compared with the 2006 version of the older car, the latest Beetle Convertible is 3.3 inches wider at 71.2 inches; 1.1 inches lower at 58.0 inches tall; and 6.0 inches longer at 168.4 inches overall.
To help with rigidity, the Beetle Convertible's body needed reinforcements. This included the use of partial body reinforcements and sheetmetal with greater strength such as:
The A-pillar's interior bar is 0.5 mm thicker and made from ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel instead of cold-formed metal. There is also a reinforcement in the "bend area"
The front roof crossmember has an additional central plate
Additional tubing made of ultra-high-strength (hot formed) steel between the B-pillars as well as a stronger heel plate
More sheetmetal in the lower body sidemembers
An extra rear panel that integrates the Automatic Rollover Support System is made of high-strength steel
Due to the targeted use of materials and laser welding of selected parts, the body stiffness was increased by 20 percent over that of the previous New Beetle Convertible: the torsional rigidity is now 17.8 Hz.
Top up, the Beetle Convertible has an even lower roofline than the Coupe's. Volkswagen decided to stick with a traditional softtop because it allows for a roofline that's more like the original 1949 type 15's. Also, a softtop takes up less space than a folding hardtop, thus giving more trunk space. The heatable rear window is made of tempered safety glass.
The top is powered by two electric motors and latches and unlatches at the touch of a button, which is located on the upper rail of the windshield surround. The top takes just 9.5 seconds to stow and 11.0 seconds to be raised (the difference is in the time it takes to latch the roof's header to the windshield). The top can be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 31 mph.
Pressing and holding the button opens the top, while pulling and holding closes it. The side windows automatically drop when the top is opened and are raised when it closes. There is an indicator light located in the instrument panel. On Beetle Convertibles equipped with Keyless access with push-button start, it's possible to operate the top remotely, from outside the vehicle. Trunk space remains the same whether the top is open or closed.
An integrated wind blocking system is available on the Beetle Convertible as a Volkswagen Genuine Accessory. It is housed in the trunk under the convertible top area and can be safely and neatly stowed when folded and not in use. The storage compartment for the wind blocker is designed to allow full use of the trunk area.
Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox integrated into the dashboard-the kaeferfach or "Beetle bin". The lid folds upward, while the standard glovebox opens downward. Another classic feature is the auxiliary instrumentation package located above the audio/navigation system that consists of an oil temperature gauge, a sport chronometer, and a boost pressure gauge. This is standard on the R-Line and TDI Clean Diesel models.
All 2015 Beetle Convertibles are exceptionally well equipped. The base 1.8-liter model has standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel; an eight-speaker sound system with aux-in; Bluetooth(R) technology; a Media Device Interface with iPod(R) cable; three-color adjustable ambient lighting; heatable front seats and exterior mirrors; cruise control; and V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces.
Available features include Keyless access with push-button start, leather seating surfaces, the RNS(R) 315 navigation system, the award-winning Fender(R) Premium Audio System, Bi-Xenon headlights, and Sirius XM(R) Satellite Radio.
Even though the latest Beetle Convertible has a sleek and sporty roofline, front and rear passenger headroom remains plentiful, especially compared with its predecessor. The longer roof section results in 0.5 inches more rear-seat headroom. Front legroom is improved, too, by 1.6 inches, and front shoulder room grows by 2.5 inches. Overall, the interior volume has increased from 78 to 81.4 cubic feet.
The trunk is larger, offering 7.1 cubic feet of space, compared with the New Beetle's 5.0 cubic feet. A split-folding rear seat-new on this Beetle-allows the car to carry bulkier and larger items than is normal with a convertible.
Engines and Transmissions
The 2015 Beetle Convertible offers the following powertrain combinations: the 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI(R) engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; the 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with six-speed manual or six-speed DSG(R) dual-clutch automatic transmissions; and the 2.0-liter TDI turbocharged Clean Diesel with the same manual or DSG options.
The Beetle models feature a EA888 Gen 3 turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine that is made in Silao, Mexico. This 1.8-liter engine produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque-the same power, but seven pound-feet more torque, delivered lower in the engine speed range than the 2.5-liter five-cylinder powerplant. The EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, an improvement of five mpg on the highway over the 2.5-liter engine.
A version of the EA888 TSI engine, in 2.0-liter form, also powers the R-Line models. This award-winning double-overhead cam, 16-valve, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine produces 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. While it gives the Beetle R-Line exhilarating performance, it is also highly efficient. With the DSG transmission, the R-Line gets EPA estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway; for the R-Line with six-speed manual, the figures are 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
All-new diesel engine: The TDI Clean Diesel model is powered by the EA288 turbodiesel engine, Volkswagen's all-new diesel engine family. The EA288 engine family is designated the modular diesel matrix, or MDB, and will form the basis for all future U.S.-market Volkswagen diesel products.
The EA288 in the Beetle is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine, a thorough update from the engine in the 2014 Beetle Convertible TDI. Despite the similarity in basic specifications, the only aspect that carries over from the previous EA189 unit is the cylinder bore spacing. The new engine produces 150 horsepower-10 more than before-at 3,500 rpm, as well as 236 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. This high torque output is another compelling argument for diesel engines, along with their fuel efficiency. The Beetle Convertible TDI has an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 31 mpg city and 41 mpg highway when equipped with the manual transmission, making it one of the most economical convertibles on the highway today. This new engine also returns an EPA estimated 40 mpg on the highway when paired with the automatic transmission, an improvement of 3 mpg.
The compact EA288 engine has the intercooler for its turbocharger system integrated directly into the intake manifold, which serves a two-fold purpose of increasing throttle response and performance as well as helping lower emissions. The engine block is cast iron, with a forged steel crankshaft that runs in five main bearings and has four counterweights. In order to counteract engine vibration and maintain smooth operation, the EA288's crankshaft is connected to two gear-driven counter-rotating balancer shafts that spin at twice engine speed. Friction has been reduced by about 15 percent in the engine, thanks to the use of roller bearings for the drivetrain side camshaft, increased piston-to-wall clearance, and lower piston-ring tension, among other measures.
The aluminum-alloy crossflow cylinder head has a number of unique features. First, the camshafts are integrated into a separate housing by a thermal joining process, ensuring a very rigid camshaft bearing while keeping the weight low. Second, each overhead camshaft operates one intake valve and one exhaust valve per cylinder (as opposed to one camshaft for intake valves only and one for exhaust), allowing for greater air delivery and swirl. The engine features variable cam phasing on the intake and exhaust valves.
Like its gasoline-powered brethren, the EA288 Clean Diesel TDI engine places strong emphasis on thermal management, which is evident in the cylinder head's two-section coolant jacket, as well as a three-part cooling circuit and switchable coolant pump. Compared to the previous engine, emissions are reduced by up to 40 percent, helped by siting the exhaust after-treatment module close to the engine and by the use of a low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system.
Dual-clutch transmission advantages: The DSG dual-clutch transmission combines the comfort and ease-of-use of an automatic with the responsiveness and economy of a manual. The six-speed, transversely-mounted DSG unit features two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation. One clutch controls the "odd" gears-first, third, fifth and reverse-while the other operates the even gears. Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.
With DSG, the set-up allows the next-higher gear to be engaged but remain on standby until it is actually selected. In other words, if the Beetle is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated. As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.
Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second. In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic(R) function to permit manual gear selection.
All Beetle Convertible models are fitted with a strut-type front suspension with lower control arms and an anti-roll bar: on the R-Line's sport suspension, the bar's diameter is increased from 22 mm to 23 mm. At the back, all models get a multi-link independent rear suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an 18-mm-diameter anti-roll bar.
Beetle Convertibles have standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake pressure distribution (EBD). The Convertible and TDI Clean Diesel Convertible have 11.3-inch-diameter vented front discs and 10.7-inch-diameter solid rear disc brakes. The R-Line has larger 12.3-inch-diameter vented front discs, with red calipers.
To help ensure that power is applied properly in challenging conditions, the R-Line model features the XDS(R) cross differential (limited-slip) system that electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of slippage, transfers extra torque to the wheel or wheels with the most traction.
The starting point in the Beetle Convertible's safety armory is a rigid body structure that uses seamless laser welds and ultra-high-strength hot-formed steels in the crash-load paths.
In a convertible, it's important to have protection in the event of a rollover accident, which Volkswagen has addressed with a reinforced front roof crossmember, strengthened A-pillar, and the Automatic Rollover Support System. Two roll-over bars are concealed behind the rear bench seat-back, activated by the computer that deploys the airbags in the case of a crash. Along with the fixed A-pillars, they help to provide effective protection for the occupants of all four seats within milliseconds. Front and head-thorax airbags are also among the standard equipment.
The Beetle Convertible includes Volkswagen's advanced Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collision.
The Beetle Convertible is also covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. Scheduled maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Additionally, all current Volkswagen vehicles use synthetic oil, which, when combined with state-of-the-art German engineering, eliminates the need for a 5,000-mile oil change, and allows owners to go farther between scheduled oil changes.
The Beetle Convertible, which has a starting MSRP of $25,345, comes standard with: six-speed automatic transmission; leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel; high-line trip computer; air conditioning; Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod adapter; three-color adjustable ambient lighting; Bluetooth technology; heated front seats; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; eight-speaker sound system with aux-in; cruise control; kaeferfach additional glovebox; 50/50 split folding rear seat; rear spoiler; power adjustable, heatable side mirrors; and six-month trial to Volkswagen Car-Net(R) at no additional charge.
Beetle Convertible Classic
Starting at $25,995, this limited-edition trim adds unique seat fabric, RNS 315 navigation, and 17-inch "Circle" wheels in white or black, depending on exterior color and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Beetle Convertible with Technology
Opening at $27,475, this trim adds the following to the Beetle Convertible's standard equipment: Keyless access with push-button start; Premium VIII touchscreen radio; and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Beetle Convertible with Sound and Navigation
In addition to the features on the Beetle Convertible with Technology, this adds: 18-inch "Disc" aluminum-alloy wheels; the RNS 315 navigation system; and the Fender Premium Audio System. The Beetle Convertible with Sound and Navigation starts at $29,595.
Beetle TDI(R) Convertible
Starting at $29,095, the TDI Clean Diesel receives the following equipment that's additional to the Beetle Convertible's: six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic transmission; Keyless access with push-button start; a leather-wrapped gearshift knob; SiriusXM Satellite Radio; the Premium VIII touchscreen radio; and the performance gauge cluster. The six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission is an $1,100 option.
Beetle TDI Convertible with Sound and Navigation
With a base price of $30,295, this version takes the TDI Clean Diesel's standard equipment and adds the RNS 315 navigation system, and the Fender Premium Audio System.
Beetle R-Line(R) Convertible
Starting at $29,595, the R-Line adds the following equipment over the 2.5L model: the 210-hp TSI(R) turbocharged engine; a six-speed manual or DSG automatic transmission; a sport suspension; R-Line front and rear bumpers; 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; red-painted brake calipers; aluminum-alloy-look pedals; gloss black-finished exterior mirror housings and door sills; front foglights; leather-wrapped shifter knob; R-Line door sill kickplates; R-Line badges on the front fenders; cloth sport seats; carbon-appearance dash; and the performance gauge cluster.
Beetle R-Line Convertible with Sound
This package adds Keyless access with push-button start; the Premium VIII touchscreen radio; the Fender Premium Audio System; and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The base MSRP is $30,895.
Beetle R-Line Convertible with Sound and Navigation
The topline Beetle R-Line Convertible starts at $33,995 and adds: sport seats; leather seating surfaces and door trims; the RNS 315 navigation system; 19-inch "Tornado" aluminum-alloy wheels; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs; and black interiors also get an R-Line badge on the steering wheel and a "metallic finish" dash pad.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, CC, Eos, e-Golf, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 644 independent U.S. dealers.