In a world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen has presented the new VW Beetle Cabriolet. After the original Beetle Cabriolet and New Beetle Cabriolet, this is the third generation of an automobile that enjoys cult status nearly everywhere in the world. The new Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet is now larger. Plus it’s more powerful, sporty and also more fuel-efficient. The visual impression is of a car that is longer, wider and has a lower roofline, making its proportions look more dynamic. Aside from its performance data and fuel economy figures, the most important value of a cabriolet is the time it takes to stow the soft top. In the Beetle Cabriolet, this is accomplished in just 9.5 seconds thanks to a standard electro-hydraulic drive. It can even be opened while driving – up to a speed of 31 mph (50 km/h). When stowed, the roof folds together compactly behind the rear seats, optimising the view to the rear. The fabric soft top of the Beetle Cabriolet can be raised in 11.0 seconds; the extra 1.5 seconds is accounted for by the amount of time the electro-hydraulic drive takes to latch the roof automatically to the windscreen frame.
The new Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet demonstrates the great potential of what is certainly the most familiar design in automotive history – the design of the Beetle. As a convertible, it became one of the world’s first automobiles to break free of class boundaries back in the middle of the last century; 331,847 units were built over a period of 32 years. The Beetle design experienced a renaissance with the New Beetle. That open-top version was the “Flower power convertible of a new era“; in eight years a substantial 234,619 New Beetle Cabriolet cars were built. The secret of its success: the New Beetle Cabriolet was not simply a copy of the original VW Beetle Cabriolet – instead, designers re-interpreted the forms of the car body and further developed them.
images courtesy of Volkswagen