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Volkswagen lops the lid off its new-generation bug to produce the Beetle Cabriolet

17 Nov 2003

WE knew it was coming right from the start, and now that the new Beetle Cabriolet is finally with us, we can say it turns out to be perhaps more appealing than the hard-top model – not just for its extra-dimensional aspects, but also because, to most eyes, it’s cuter. For all its fetching looks and fresh air appeal, though, it’s less practical than the hard-top, with a tiny boot accessed through an even tinier lid, and a laughable rear seat. For a significant premium – it’s the most expensive of Beetles, with the six-speed auto version nudging $50,000 - the cabriolet throws in some extra equipment, although it certainly fails to break into the luxury sector. Wisely, VW makes the 2.0-litre engine standard.
Model release date: 1 June 2003 to 1 January 2013

Previous model

Volkswagen Cabriolet

Released: 1949
Ended: 1979
Family Tree: Beetle

The original VW Cabriolet was made between 1949 and 1979 by German coachbuilder and soft-top specialist Karmann of Osnabruck. The only official soft-top VW builder, Karmann produced 331,847 VW Cabriolets. The original Beetle's air-cooled, rear-mounted engine meant there was nowhere to store the folding roof, so it sat behind the rear seats like a folded pram lid. It's one of the few similarities the original has with the 2003 version. Pictured is a 1971 VW Cabriolet 1302 LS.

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