2003 Volkswagen New Beetle Cabriolet



(from Volkswagen Press Release, March 2003) The New Beetle Cabriolet is arriving on the European market just in time for spring 2003. The design of the avant-garde Volkswagen is absolutely unique, and is a synonym for joie de vivre which requires no expression in terms of status. The New Beetle Cabriolet additionally reflects, in a refreshingly new and progressive manner, the positive radiance of the historic Beetle Cabriolet, which wrote history as the first status-neutral Volkswagen. The conceptual link between the New Beetle Cabriolet and the Beetle Cabriolet is even closer than that of their enclosed versions.

When Volkswagen presented the Beetle Cabriolet in 1949, open-topped driving in a four-seater became accessible to many people for the first time. On a matured and practical basis, the vehicle offered pure driving fun under open skies throughout the world. The Beetle Cabriolet was phased-out in 1980 after more than 330,000 vehicles had been sold; by this time, it had long since become the status-neutral lifestyle vehicle for generations of Cabriolet drivers. The New Beetle Cabriolet is a highly modern interpretation of precisely this vehicle concept. A lifestyle vehicle, equally status-neutral, equally open without convertible top bows and equally practical.

With its full-size rear seats plus optional through-loading aperture, a roll-over protection system which automatically extends in the event of an emergency, its all-season convertible top including heated glass rear window and a six-speed automatic gearbox (optional equipment), available for the first time in the world in this class, the torsionally-rigid New Beetle Cabriolet concept shows just how extremely safe, comfortable and practical a lifestyle-oriented vehicle can be.

Special exterior paints developed specifically for the New Beetle Cabriolet add a dash of colour to everyday life: aquarius blue, mellow yellow and harvest moon, to name just a few; their very names make it clear that emphasis is placed on this vehicle's positive and pleasant radiance.

Introduction in Europe with three petrol engines (75 to 115 hp); TDI following soon
2.0-litre petrol engine (115) can be combined with the optional new six-speed automatic gearbox

The New Beetle Cabriolet will be introduced to the European market with three engine versions. The entry model offers a four-cylinder petrol engine with 55 kW / 75 hp. The next stage is a 1.6-litre petrol engine generating 75 kW / 102 hp. And the most powerful petrol engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 85 kW / 115 hp. Just after the debut of the Cabriolet comes the economical, high-torque four-cylinder turbo diesel: This 1.9-litre engine with pump-jet direct injection generates 74 kW / 100 hp. All engines fulfil the strict EU 4 exhaust emission standards.

A manual five-speed gearbox is offered with all engines. In addition, Volkswagen is offering a new six-speed automatic gearbox with Tiptronic function one of a kind in its segment as an option for the 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Cabriolet-specific technical highlights include the design and actuation of the fabric-covered convertible top. As before in the case of the Beetle Cabriolet, the so-called soft top comes to rest in the area of the imaginary C-pillar when opened. This calls the historic Cabriolet to mind. However, the height of the folded convertible top has been considerably reduced thanks to especially lavish Z-folding.

In order to open it, the convertible top is released by means of a one-hand control in the front area of the roof. It can then be folded into its resting position. If the optional electro-hydraulic system is installed, the convertible top can be opened and closed in a mere 13 seconds at the push of a button. A continuous trim strip forms the especially refined transition between the lower edge of the convertible top or windows and the body line.

The automatic roll-over protection system has been harmoniously integrated into the open Cabriolet's silhouette. The system is located behind the rear seat backrest. A roll-over and crash sensor determines the possible risk of the vehicle's rolling over, and actuates the protection system. In this case, two supporting profiles shoot up within 0.25 seconds and secure the passenger compartment together with a reinforced windscreen frame.

The passive safety elements, which include effective front and side airbags and energy-absorbing side panelling specially-designed for the Cabriolet, are supplemented by proven active safety mechanisms. The New Beetle Cabriolet thus comes standard with side airbags, ABS and ESP.

(All data and specifications in this press information apply to the range of models available in North America or Germany. They may differ in other countries. Changes and discrepancies reserved.)