“SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN, GOOD NIGHT….”

As the camera zooms out on the most iconic of retro personal coupes/ convertibles ever made, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition bids Adieu, Adieu and Au Revoir to an oft told automotive story about the classic People’s Car, dating back to 1938.  The Beetle or, interchangeably, Bug, Kafer or Vocho, has been that absurd little bird, and that made it so endearing.

Fueled by “Dieselgate” and an urgency to find SUV traction in the North American market, Volkswagen has already semi-pivoted to a new electrified, modular ID platform. There’s a more three-dimensional VW emblem on the way too.

The 2019 Volkswagen Final Edition Beetle boasts no special numberings nor commemorative plaques. Production was not limited by anything more than dealership book orders. Released in softer color schemes, such as the tester’s Platinum Grey with beige soft top, it lacks the sardonic impressions of last year’s comprehensively reviewed Beetle Dune.

There was a modest amount of fanfare on the Puebla, Mexico assembly line as the last Stonewashed Blue Final Edition coupe rolled off on July 10, 2019. Roadblazing.com now bids a sentimental farewell to a cultural icon whose epitaph will read “Over 21.5 million made,” Yet the misty eyed might find solace in the upcoming electrified VW I.D. Buzz, a retro nod to the vintage VW Type 2 Bus.

Roadblazing.com says Adio with one more open air spin in the Final Edition of the Beetle runabout, as this staffer reminisces of cutting his teenage driving teeth on a late 70’s air-cooled rear engine Type I.

 

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2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Final Edition highlights:

– Starting price, including destination = $28,190 SE front-drive, 16V DOHC 2.0L inline-4 cylinder, 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transaxle. Add $2700 for SEL trim.

Ferdinand Porsche’s 1938 People’s Car design proved to be a runabout for the ages.

– The transition from New Beetle to current A5 Beetle in 2013 involved some manning up, with beefy fenders and rear haunches, more square jawed lower front fascia and a bumped out lower trunk lid to upper bumper cover line. Side running board keep with Type I tradition underlined by body-color matching side skirts. Front air dam corner straking and a rear cowl spoiler fills the sport quota.  LED versized ovoid front and segmented directional backs are the true spoils of a modern age.

+/-  Reviving a modicum of elegance are the SEL’s alabaster ringed mirror 18″ alloy wheels which can be likened to Roaring 20’s mobsters’ ankle spats.

– Cloth top details:

  • Haartz Twillfast 3-ply lined soft top
  • One button powers down in 9.5 seconds / up 11.0 seconds
  • Operates at up to 31 miles per hour
  • Auto lowering / raising front door and rear side windows
  • Soft vinyl tonneau cover snaps in
  • Available wind foil accessory

– For a car intended to spend much of it’s life with roof open, the retro modern concentric dial gauges, with 3.5″ TFT monochrome MFD capable of displaying navigation routing, deserve better protection against the jaws of sun glare.

– The 6.3″ LCD Discover media display is a Too Dim,Top Down last generation straggler. The native GPS HDD navigation operates better with finger intuition than with vocal commands. Included Android Auto and Apple Car Play projection makes the Beetle Z Generation compatible.

– Occupants and onlookers remain impressed with the two-tone beige on black cabin and the seat insert quilting. Similar contrast applies to the gloss front dash panel, while variable tri-color front door speaker illumination are night time nods to nostalgia. The upper glove-box door blade release connotes a surgical piece. Soft spots exist where elbows rest, but the rest of the Beetle office is finished in a tight raised grained plastic and gloss black bezels. Switches and twist knob, sourced from Golf / Jetta suppliers,  exhibit industrially robustness.

–  Leather front buckets favor ease of egress given the heavy doors. Manual fold and slide second row access, employing embedded upper front seat back levers, seems inviting but the 2nd Row abode is short on hospitality. Thus it’s best left for mounting an accessory wind-foil. A rear camera addresses the rearwards visiblity hampered by the acreage of fabric covered steel roof trusses.

–  Beetle convertible’s trunk is at worst a handbag, especially when the tonneau cover  slumbers back there. An evenly split rear seat back comes to the rescue, reinforcing the Beetle convertible as a fun weekend getaway conveyance for…2. Utility exists in the upper and generous lower glove boxes. A lower center stack connectivity nook is straight out of pre-phablet times. Then there are the dash top bowl, twin cup holders, sub-arm rest bin. -1 Shallow door pockets strapped with an elastic band, presumably for paper maps.

– Contemporary 2.0 16V liter turbocharged engines spew out a lot more fire than the 174 ponies made by this de-tuned previous generation EA888. Is it permissible for Roadblazing staff to pine for the roiling torque of the non-compliant 2.0 TDI diesel tested by sibling outlet ChicagoNow.com “Drive…He Said?” This final Beetle won’t break rubber and the 6-speed Tiptronic is geared for a rather sedate cruise, delivering 30 miles per gallon.

The extra poundage of the Beetle convertible is a handful for body control on the old non MQB platform. It rolls without the punches and the rear end pushes a fair bit in turns. Road compliance has been calibrated for supple and steering sharpness excised. Even the disc brakes at all corners issue suggestions rather than commands.

– SAFETY = 6 Airbags; Automatic deploying rear roll hoops; Standard rear camera w/ predictive grid; Post collision braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert.

– INCLUDED = Keyless entry & ignition, cruise control, power windows x 2, driver’s express; air conditioning, heated side mirrors; Bluetooth handsfree communications; 6.2″ LCD touch media display; SMS text messaging; 6 speaker HD radio streaming audio w/ Sirius XM (90 days trial); CarNet Apps & Security; Android Auto, Apple Car Play; USB x 1, 12V x 2.

– MAJOR OPTIONS included in SEL Final Edition = Leather seating, heated front; Automatic climate control; 6.3″ Discovery media display w/ HDD GPS Navigation; Fender Audio; Carnet Concierge; Park Pilot sonar warning; HID headlamps, LED taillamps.

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Final Edition  PROS:

  • Could end up collectible
  • Civilized, affordable open-air motoring
  • Blend of retro and modern inside and out
  • Quiet one touch fabric top operation
  • Over-sized gauges
  • Standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Final Edition CONS:

  • Out of production, availability limited to dealership stock
  • Long throttle travel
  • Feels heavy and responds tentatively
  • Compromised back seat legroom
  • Scrimps on storage
  • Sun washed instruments

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Final Edition SEL  = Final rendering of the Classic Bug

ANY COMPETITION: Fiat 500 Convertible: +1 Abarth version; Mini Cooper Convertible: +1 power, handling