Since the 60’s, the Volkswagen Beetle has been one of those longtime friends that come and go out of our lives as it pleases. When it’s here it brings joy and happiness with its cute little persona, but when it comes to take a hiatus, there’s no hard feelings. Convertibles hardly change over the years, and for the Beetle, it’s much the case as for the last 6 years, the VW Beetle feels as if it’s almost overstaying its welcome. Its timeless design has is starting to tick away at the old clock especially when other car makers are keeping things fresh, how will the Beetle hold up.
As we roll into the New Year, there’s always room for change, and while the Beetle may still uphold the same signature delightful facade from when it was launched in 2011, there is something new under the hood of our little charmed bug. New for 2018, Volkswagen swapped out the heart of the Beetle, replacing its 1.8-liter turbo four with a new 174-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo – a four-horsepower bump and no change to the 184 lb-ft of torque keeps the Beetle feeling frisky with a little bite. Now, not to be confused with the R-LINE’s 2.0-liter turbo, that produces a 210-horsepower straight from the GTI hot hatch.
This change in performance showcases very little difference between the old and the new engine. Our base model S Convertible comes standard only in a six-speed automatic and jumps to 60 mph in around about 7 seconds. Its turbo is plenty powerful for the everyday mule and loves to boost at low RPM for an enjoyable ride. Even after 6 years, the Beetles chassis along with this look is aging gracefully, like any typical Volkswagen. It manages to continue upholding a solid and refine ride with a pleasant on center steering feel and positive road mannerisms. It continues to be a fun little topless car to toss around in traffic and on fun back roads.
With the new engine comes improved fuel economy with an expectancy of 29 overall mpg combined – 4 more over the previous engine. During our week we managed to hit just below that marker with 27 combined mpg average; however, time did not permit our 200 mile highway run. Gathering that we had done that, our mpg average could have exceeded the 29 mpg expectation. Included with the new engine, Volkswagen has updated their warranty by now bumping it to 6-years or 72,000 miles – allowing for more fun time in the sun with your Beetle.
Since the only thing that has changed for 2018 was the mechanical bits underneath, we’ll find the same alluring interior with matching body color panels that spices up its flair. Unfortunately, while higher trim levels would see a larger touch screen display, our base model S line gets a small 5-inch touch screen infotainment system with no satellite radio or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Connectivity that would be available on higher trim levels. The overall system starts to show its age with a low resolution screen and delayed responses in the touch interface. Even the steering wheel controls aren’t up to Volkswagen today standards. What the base S trim does come with is heated seats, a back-up camera, and leatherette upholstery. On the convertible, the exterior is also upgraded with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Despite a $2000 drop in price to an out the door cost of $26,290, the Beetle, the age of the Beetle may be aging gracefully; however, the Fiat 500c and MINI Convertible start to showcase enhanced technology of the Beetle. But if the Beetle meets your nostalgic requirements, it’s still an energetic option with a quick folding power roof and the genuine VW premium feel.
|2018 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Base Price:||$25,440|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$26,290|
|2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder -174-Horsepower, 6-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 26/33/29 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 27 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±465 Miles|