Making its official world debut in Los Angeles, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible looks even better in person than it did in previously released photos. The third-generation Beetle drop-top embodies all of the basic design cues found in its Coupe sibling but adds an al fresco twist that endows the car with its own unique personality.

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The crowning achievement for the 2013 Beetle Convertible is a power-activated 3-layer fabric soft top that requires just over 10 seconds to deploy. Activated with the touch of a button, it lies semi-flat under a flexible leatherette cover when retracted to improve the driver's rearward sightlines. The new Convertible's well-finished, 4-seat cabin carries over largely intact from the Beetle Coupe, and a split-folding rear seat adds more utility while upping the car's load-toting capacity. To enhance safety, VW designed a new Automatic Rollover Support System for the car. Working in concert with the Convertible's redesigned and even-more-rigid A-pillars, it consists of two pop-up rollover bars concealed behind the rear seatback that are called into the action by the same computer used to deploy the car's airbags.

Here in America, powertrain choices for the new VW Beetle Convertible will be identical to those in the Coupe. The base engine is a 2.5-liter/170-horsepower 5-cylinder backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission while the 2.0-liter/140-horse turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel four will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox or optional 6-speed DSG dual-clutch autoshifter. Topping the range is the 2.0-liter/200-horse turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder that also can be paired with either the 6-speed manual or DSG automatic.

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible will start appearing in U.S. showrooms later this year. To add even more buzz at launch, VW has created a trio of special edition Beetle Convertibles, each evoking unique style cues from three decades in American cultural history. The '50s Edition Beetle Convertible matches a black exterior with tan upholstery, the '60s Edition boasts Denim Blue paint and two-tone upholstery and the '70s Edition Convertible sets off a Toffee Brown exterior with chrome-look disc-type wheels. Pricing for the 2013 Beetle Convertible begins at $24,995 plus delivery. 

Volkswagen also took advantage of the Beetle Convertible's LA debut to show off two other variations on its new droptop theme. While the first public appearance of the Beetle Convertible Exclusive model -- in Design and Sport form - is destined to remain a packaging exercise for the home market, the presence of the Euro-spec Beetle Convertible R-Line on the stand was meant to gauge potential customer interest in a similar package for the U.S.

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