VW Beetle Convertible TDI tst drive.
I was really interested in spending some time with the Diesel version of the redesigned Beetle convertible.
Since I had only driven the 2.0 Liter version of the car before.
Outside, the only difference with the “regular” non-turbo model seems to be the 17 inch wheel design. And the TDI badge on the trunk.
Otherwise, it is the same great design.
Same thing inside.
Being a Turbo, it has the same stupid additional gauges on top of the dashboard.
I never liked them. I have no idea who would ever have the need for this.
The space is much better used as as a flat storage area, like in the base model.
Or how about an iPhone dock over there. Or anything people might have a use for…
Otherwise, the interior is the same. With high quality plastics, and everything feels really solid.
The Fender stereo on my test car was a great as usual.
The only problem was the cable used to plug in the iPhone. It is not a regular USB cable but some VW proprietary unit. And just like in any other VW model, that cable was always loose and would never keep my iPhone plugged in. (I had to use a rubber band to keep it from disconnecting all the time)
Which is a really weird defect that all recent VWs seem to have…
The drive is a bit softer than the Turbo. Sometime, a bit too much. But this also makes for a smoother ride. Although it get a bit more unsettled on rough pavement.
This is mostly due to the TDI’s torsion beam suspension. The independent set up in the Turbo model is more refined. But this is actually OK.
The steering is light and precise.
Now for that Diesel.
I am generally a big fan of VW’s TDI. Although it does vary a bit. It is great in the Jetta, but seems rougher and louder in the Passat.
In the Beetle, it is just great. Most people will never know this is a diesel. It doesn’t really sound louder, just different.
While I did match the 31 MPG rating in the city. My highway mileage was much better than the official rating of 41MPG. As I had no problem getting 47!
Which is quite amazing for a car that never feels slow, and is so much fun to drive.
The downside is the DSG, as always. The more I drive cars equipped with it, the more I get used to it. But still.
You have to deal with the weird low speed behavior. Slowing down and getting to a stop feels weird. As does backing up up hill.
It is just never as good as a “regular” 6 speed auto.
they do offer a 6 speed manual, which is great. If you can find one! (A friend of mine had to wait 4 month for her Manual Beetle…)
I really liked the Diesel version of the Beetle Convertible. So far , this is my favorite version of that car.
Although, in a few months, the Beetle is getting the new 1.8 Liter Turbo as its standard engine.
Which gets much better mileage than the old 2.5 Liter. So it will be closing the gap, while using much cheaper regular gas.
But wait, there’s more. Later in the 2014 model year, a new version of the 2.0 Liter Diesel with 150HP will appear. With even better gas mileage. (They are talking of 10 to 15% improvement, which would mean about 53MPG on the HWY?)
Just something to think about if you are in the market for one…