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by Tim Beissmann

The Volkswagen Beetle Convertible has been revealed ahead of its world premiere at next month’s 2012 Los Angeles auto show.

The soft-top version of the new-generation Beetle will reach European showrooms in the second quarter of 2013, although its inclusion in the German manufacturer’s local line-up is yet to be locked in.

Volkswagen Australia’s Kurt McGuiness said it was “still up in the air” whether the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible would reach our shores, insisting it was too early to comment on its chances for our market.

The all-new Volkswagen Beetle hardtop will finally hit Australian showrooms in early 2013, around two years after it debuted simultaneously at the New York and Shanghai auto shows in April 2011.

Volkswagen sold 1626 previous-generation New Beetle Cabriolets in Australia between its 2003 launch and its discontinuation earlier this year – averaging approximately 200 units per year at its peak around the middle of last decade.

If the new ‘third-generation’ Beetle Convertible (following the Type 15 Beetle from 1949 and 2002’s New Beetle Cabriolet) does join the local line-up, it will compete with Volkswagen’s two other compact convertibles – the Eos hardtop and the Golf Cabriolet soft-top – as well as a number of open-top models from other manufacturers.

Like the generations before it, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible retains the standard hardtop’s signature curves while sporting its own unique open-air profile.

Prominent black and chrome skirts sit low between the generous wheel arches, while an additional thin chrome strip wraps around the top, accentuating the border between steel and fabric.

The soft-top’s roof opens and closes automatically on all models, folding up or down in around 10 seconds at vehicle speeds up to 48km/h.

The Beetle Convertible’s boot has a capacity of 225 litres, and folding the split rear bench forwards opens up more space whether the roof is open or closed.

Enhancing top-down safety is a new active rollover protection system consisting of two modules that extend from behind the rear seats when the central airbag unit is triggered to provide additional protection for all four occupants.

The Beetle Convertible will be available overseas with seven turbocharged engine options, ranging from the entry-level 77kW 1.2-litre petrol and 77kW 1.6-litre diesel to the 147kW 2.0-litre petrol.

The Volkswagen Beetle Convertible will headline Volkswagen’s Los Angeles stand from November 30.