For fun in the sun with a touch of whimsy, Volkswagen’s Beetle Convertible is an excellent choice. Indeed, much of its appeal comes from its iconic styling and relative affordability, but its standard turbocharged engine and supple ride make it a decent all-rounder.
For model year 2017, the Beetle gets styling, equipment changes, and new special edition trims.
All Beetles now receive a sportier front-end treatment with R-Line front bumper and a standard rear spoiler. New base Pepita cloth upholstery covers bucket seats with now-standard lumbar support, and there is also a new painted centre console, which on select exterior colours, matches the dashboard appliqué. All cars also get VW’s Driver Alert fatigue detection system. 2017 Beetles are also available in two new colours: Bottle Green, and White Silver.
In addition to all of this new equipment, the base Trendline receives a revised Convenience Package that adds VW’s Composition infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, plus a trip computer.
The Comfortline trim – formerly the mid-grade trim – has been dropped, and is instead replaced by the suitably retro Classic. The Classic gets vintage-look upholstery and alloy wheels with chrome caps, plus a bunch of other new features. The back end of the vehicle, for instance, now gets a badge with 50’s style font, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, chrome interior trim, the Composition infotainment system, plus three new colours: Bottle Green, Silk Blue, and Dark Bronze.
Buyers can upgrade to the new Style package which adds luxury features including automatic climate control, LED taillights, HID headlights with LED accents, fog lights, proximity key with push-button start, and a premium Fender audio system. Navigation is no longer complementary with the Classic package, though.
The Beetle Dune, which first appeared last year in Coupe form only, is now offered on the Convertible. In addition to an increased ride height of 10 mm, the bodywork is accented by faux skid-plate bumper and rocker panels, 18-inch wheels, and a side stripe package. The suspension tuning is also different – it’s a smidge firmer, and is beefed up by a thicker anti-roll bar. If the Beetle Dune looks a bit more buff than the standard Beetle Convertible, it’s because it is – the track is 14 mm wider. Colours are limited to white, black, and an orangey-gold hue called Sandstorm Yellow.
Last but certainly not least is the new #PinkBeetle (yes, the hashtag is a part of the official name). Inspired by the 2015 New York Auto Show concept, it gets paint-shifting fuchsia paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, pink tartan plaid upholstered sports seats, pink interior stitching, plus a special “Bug” badge on the tailgate. Included equipment is equal to a fully-loaded Classic. Only 100 of the #PinkBeetle Convertibles will be brought to Canada.
All Beetle Convertibles use a 1.8-litre turbocharged and direct-injected engine which develops 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery from this engine is smooth, and while it may not have the same degree of gusto as the Beetle Sportline which was last seen in 2015, its relaxed nature makes it an ideal match for the Beetle’s easygoing character. All Beetle Convertibles feature front-wheel drive and use a six-speed automatic transmission.