2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Unveiled, TDI Diesel Included

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With the new VW Beetle launched last year, you knew there would be a ragtop, right?

We now have photos of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, which includes a unique model: the only diesel convertible available for sale in the U.S.

This is only the third all-new open-air Beetle in history; the first was in 1949, the second in 2003. This time, it's not called a Cabrio but simply a Convertible.

Sticking close to the restyling cues of the hardtop Beetle (actually a three-door hatchback), the new four-seat convertible Beetle has a more  upright windshield and a longer, flatter roof.

But unlike the first two generations, the top folds almost flat rather than sitting in a tall stack on top of the rear deck. We welcome the concession to rear vision.

Given modern-day safety concerns over any car without a roof, VW has built in a pair of roll-over bars behind the rear seat.

They're automatically activated in a crash any time an airbag is triggered, giving the car full support (along with the windshield pillars) in the event of an accident in which the car overturns.

The top is power-operated and takes about 10 seconds to fold down.

To increase practicality, VW has engineered the rear seat to fold down, which lets longer cargo pass through from the abbreviated trunk into the rear passenger compartment.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

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The interior remains the same as the hardtop Beetle, with body-color trim panels and a combination of businesslike black trim and silver accents.

Three engines are offered: the base Beetle convertible comes with a 170-hp, 2.5-liter five-cylinder, fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The optional powerplants are a 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four, which comes with a six-speed manual or the six-speed direct-shift automatic; and the faithful 140-hp, 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, offering either of the same two transmissions.

The diesel Beetle convertible is projected to deliver a 41-mpg highway rating when fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, but VW hasn't yet provided estimates for the city or combined EPA ratings.

Pricing for the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible hasn't been announced. The car will go on sale before the end of the year.

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