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Volkswagen of America has released the first official photographs of its highly anticipated 2003 New Beetle convertible, due to arrive in North American dealerships by the end of the year.
In the U.S., the 2003 New Beetle convertible will be initially offered with the 2.0-liter/115-hp engine in the GLS trim. Later in calendar year 2003, a 2.0-liter GL model will be available, as will the 1.8-liter/150-hp turbo engine in the GLS and GLX trim levels. In Canada, the 2003 New Beetle convertible will be sold in the 2.0-liter/115-hp GLS and late-arriving 1.8T GLX trim levels. All models feature a standard five-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic -- a first for a car in this segment.

The technical highlights of the convertible design include the operation of the cloth-lined, three-layered top and the Automatic Rollover Supports. The open softtop rests on the area of an imaginary C-pillar, reminiscent of the classic Beetle convertible. The power top functions using a button and a one-hand release mechanism, taking only 13 seconds to open or close. The Automatic Rollover Supports have been integrated into a silhouette of the open convertible, and the system is located behind the rear seat. The rollover and crash sensors detect when the car is in danger of rolling and trigger the protection system.

The New Beetle convertible follows in the footsteps of two of the highest-selling cabriolets in the world, the Volkswagen Cabrio and the original Beetle convertible of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Its distinct design strives to symbolize status-free fun, promising a top-down, free-spirited driving experience.

Volkswagen will release pricing for the 2003 New Beetle Convertible later this fall

 
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