The VW Beetle is a bit of a time machine. When you talk to people of a certain age about it, their eyes glaze over and they will, inevitably, tell you about an adventure they once had that involved a cute little bug.
Most likely the tale happened in a time when summers were always hot and it snowed every Christmas. Ironically, though, the only people who are not stuck in the past are Volkswagen. With the launch of the latest generation of the Beetle in 2014, the days of bumpy rides, sparse interiors and muted power were firmly left behind.
The exterior design was much more aggressive, while the interior was top-notch VW materials, lots of gadgets and an engine borrowed from none other than the Golf GTI. We drove it and we loved it. And we got to fall in love all over again following the launch of the cabrio version, which made its debut in the UAE at the Dubai Motor Show in November.
The cabriolet fills a big gap for Volkswagen in the country is it did not have a soft-top in its line-up until the Beetle Cabriolet arrived. That is somewhat of a surprise given the conditions are perfect to have the roof down for so much of the year.
The car is available in SE, SEL and Exclusive trim levels with features including keyless entry, leather sports seats and 20ins alloy wheels. There are also new colours available, such as Habanero Orange and Blue Silk.
The roof, which is flatter than the coupe version, opens in 9.5 seconds and can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 50kph.
Inside, the cabriolet has a very Volkswagen feel to it with comfy seats and lots of buttons and panels. There are also design elements that hint at its heritage, such as the cloth pockets and big round dials. However, like the hard-top version, it almost feels a little too modern and could do with a bit more kitsch.
After all, if you’re an icon then you need to stand out from the rest, not follow the pack. Still, a Fender sound system – with 400 watts of power, nine speakers and a subwoofer – is a good way to take your mind off it.
While the interior and exterior design may have changed a fair amount since the Beetle was first built in 1938, it is probably under the bonnet where the most significant changes have been made.
The Beetle Cabriolet is powered by a 2.0l TSI, four-cylinder engine mated with six-speed gearbox. This means it can go from zero to 100kph in 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 225kph.