Beetle Cabriolet 70s Edition 2.0 TDI
ever a real-life Beetle was able
to drive as well as Herbie,
anthropomorphic racing Beetle
The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again,
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie
Goes Bananas, and Herbie: Fully
Loaded it would be the new, latest
TO SAY THE BEETLE HAS 'MANNED UP' over successive generations is no lie. Once
seen as a bit of a girlie's car, or condemned with faint praise as a 'rebodied
Golf', there's no question that the current Beetles now cut the mustard for
the guys as well as the gals.
Not only can you have a Beetle that's almost as talented as its Walt Disney
counterpart, but you can even drive one that has an unmistakable Seventies look
the 70s Edition as tested here.
One thing you will have to manage without is the dash-mounted flower vase. Not,
I suspect, a problem for the guys now getting behind the sporty wheel of a drop-top
Externally, framed by muscular outboard wheel arches at each corner, the latest
Beetles are longer, lower and wider and with a spoiler bringing
up the back and fronted by a full-width slash of a low grille, they're decidedly
more sporty looking.
'70s Edition ragtop model boasts a fab metallic Java Brown paint-job with contrasting
beige hood and, filling out the bulbous wheelarches, a set of fabulous chrome
disc-style alloy wheels.
But can you
go bananas in one?
Actually, pretty much so
although the latest
Cabrios forte is playing
if you really must
press-on, it can be
On sale alongside the standard Cabriolet are three special editions, each harking
back to a specific decade: a black-painted and chromed-up 50s Edition; a hip
Denim Blue (or Candy White) 60s Edition; and, as tested here, an equally distinctive
70s Edition notable for its super-cool wheels and Java paintwork.
But can you 'go bananas' in one? Actually, pretty much so although the latest
Cabrio's forte is playing the laid-back open-to-the-sky cruiser. If you really
must press-on, it can be manhandled fairly aggressively without risk.
It may have lost its metal top but its been beefed-up under the skin and is
very rigid for a convertible. Furthermore, being based on the competent (and
only recently superseded) Golf Mk6, all the handling essentials
including a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension set-up, an Electronic Stabilisation
Programme and traction control along with VW's Electronic Differential Lock
(for improved traction and handling) are all present and correct.
Drive a Beetle Coupe back-to-back with a Cabrio and you'll be surprised to find
that their handling abilities are pretty close. Like most of the current crop
of new cars, the Beetle's direct steering is electrically-assisted
and none the worse for it, serving up decent road feel. Overall, a tidy handler.
So, Yes, you can go bananas. And with no fear of slipping up.
Equally satisfying, it rides well on its standard-fit 235/45 18-inch rubber,
staying composed over poorer blacktop. Even potholes won't cause you
or your passengers to grit your teeth.
The six-speed manual 'box is equally pleasing to work with, especially when
you're making full use of the turbodiesel's hefty torque. Do so and the 0-62mph
sprint comes up in 9.9 seconds; keep accelerating and you'll top out at 122mph
(really, that's as fast as you'll ever want to go topless in any car). Cruising
the motorways down to Monte Carlo at the legal limit, top up or down, is altogether
Between 1,750-and 2,500rpm, 236lb ft of torque is what the Beetle's 1,968cc
TDI unit delivers. In layman's terms that means not needing to rev the four-pot
hard in everyday driving. However, that's not to say that there isn't more than
enough poke to guarantee some vim when your right foot pushes down hard. Diesel
it may be but another plus it also runs quietly.
added bonus for drivers who want the satisfaction of shifting for themselves
and who have no desire to go the auto route is that the TDI's low-down pulling
power means less frequent gear changes. Also appreciated is the leather trimmed
gearknob so much nicer during the winter moths than a metal knob!
if you prefer a slow-descending needle on your fuel gauge, then you'll love
this bug. The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is pretty sparing with fuel
officially it will return 44.1 around the houses, 64.2 touring and 55.4mpg combined.
Our real-life figure after a week's enthusiastic beetling around: 47.1mpg.
The six-speed box is
equally pleasing to work
with, especially when
youre making full use of
Do so and 62mph
in 9.9 seconds;
and youll top out
Being a cabrio, the heart of the 70s Edition is, somewhat unsurprisingly, its
cabin. Peel back the three-layer beige fabric hood at the press
of a button it folds and stacks in a fast 9.5 seconds (rises again in 11) at
road speeds of up to 31mph and you'll find an attractive beige
As we said at the beginning, these sportier-looking Beetles are lower, longer
and wider. The consequences are all good: more headroom, more shoulder room
and more legroom. Those up front are absolutely guaranteed comfort and space
the shapely leather seats are well-bolstered and supportive, come
with lumbar support and adjust for height. Combined with decent visibility and
plenty of steering wheel adjustability, drivers of all sizes will be able to
set a fine driving position with no problem.
One thing you can be sure of with any VW is a set of cleanly laid-out instruments
and controls, and the Beetle is no exception: whatever you need is exactly where
you'd expect to find it. Dials are crystal clear with crisp white numerals and
sharp red needles. In the 70s Edition you get some extra gauges: turbo boost,
stopwatch, and oil temp mounted centrally in a pod along the leading
edge of the fascia.
A small rev-counter sits to the left of the speedo, which incorporates a comprehensive
driver's information display scrolling through the data is easily
done by using the thumbwheel on the multifunction wheel. Thoughtful touches
like this are what make the Beetle so nice to drive as you can concentrate on
the physical act of driving without secondary distractions.
The standard-fit sound system (with touchscreen, DAB digital radio / MP3 compatible
six-CD autochanger and eight speakers, SD card reader, aux-in socket and MDI
multi-device interface with USB and iPod cables) is fine and well up, audibly,
to top-down motoring; its easy controls are second nature to use on the move.
kit includes all the essentials such as AirCon, heated front seats, electric
windows, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, front and rear parking
sensors, power assisted steering, multifunction computer including visual gearchange
prompt, ambient cabin lighting, sports instrument dials, electric power hood,
heat insulating tinted glass, etc.
power-operated fabric roof is well-engineered (multi-layers and a glass rear
window add to the refinement) and a tight fit when raised, keeping sound levels
on a par with the all-of-a-piece Beetle coupe.
down, there's good protection from the wind and conversations can be held with
your passengers without any raised voices. There's a tailored tonneau to cover
the roof when it's stacked on the rear deck behind the rear seat headrests (for
the record, some drivers might find the folded back roof restricts some of their
Theres a tailored
tonneau to cover the roof
when its stacked on the
rear deck behind the rear
those who like to be able
to get their top up fast,
even when theyre
rolling, probably wont
bother to use it.
Not a problem as it looks
Those who like to be able to get their top up fast, even when they're rolling,
probably won't bother to use it. Not a problem as it looks fine 'naked'.
A wind deflector to minimise buffeting, and which stows neatly in the boot,
is an extra-cost option but well worth the £235 it costs for those long-haul,
Those seat in the rear will find getting there (and getting back out) no hassle
thanks to good-sized side doors and front seats that tilt-and-slide smoothly.
Two adults (not three) are catered for; youngsters will love it. While legroom
is not humongous and you sit pretty upright, your friends will still be on speaking
terms with you after travelling in the back.
Luggage-wise the Cabrio's boot takes 225 litres but, die to the smallish boot
opening, squishy weekender bags are the preferred choice. Unexpectedly, the
rear bench folds down to provide more luggage space taking the
litre count to 905. More than enough for that cruisin' holiday.
Cabin storage is also practical, thanks to the extra 'Beetle bin' upper glovebox
that supplements the main glovebox, a number of deep open trays, front seatback
pockets, a cubby under the flip-up armrest between the front seats, and usable
Along with wind-in-the-hair fun, the 70s Edition Cabriolet Beetle serves up
totally stress-free driving with almost teetotal levels of fuel consumption.
All that plus you'll be driving an individualistically-retro, four-seater drop-top.
The name's Herbie!
Beetle Cabriolet 70s Edition 2.0 TDI | £26,420
Maximum speed: 122mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Average Test MPG: 47.1mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 134g/km