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The Volkswagen iBeetle and iBeetle Convertible have been unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai auto show, debuting the brand’s first two models with full Apple iPhone 5 vehicle integration.

To be launched early in 2014, in parallel with Volkswagen’s new iPhone 5 integration capability, the two Volkswagen iBeetle special editions feature a newly developed iPhone docking station and an integrated Apple iPhone app that links the smartphone to vehicle functions.

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Part of an alliance between Volkswagen and Apple that officially begins later this year, the special app, dubbed the ‘Volkswagen Car Net The Beetle’, links the vehicle to multiple online services and available iPhone functions such as navigation tools, hands-free telephone and audio streaming.

Once ‘docked’ in its centrally located dashboard-mounted cradle, the app presents users with a main menu allowing access to further functions including Spotify, which lets users stream music and online radio stations; Expert, which offers a real-time G-Meter, oil and coolant temperature gauges, a chronometer and a compass; Trainer, used to compare driving times, distances and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations; Reader, lists the latest Facebook messages and can also read aloud iPhone text messages; Postcard, which sends digital postcards of the Beetle’s current location to friends with a map motif and a sender identification of “Sent with the Beetle App”; and Photo, which posts photos taken from the interior of the Beetle by the iPhone camera to social network sites with an identical sender identification to the Postcard app.

Volkswagen iBeetle Convertible - 2

A Milestones app is also available but only when the smartphone is “undocked”, and rewards users with virtual ‘milestone stickers’ for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed, guiding users through a range of applications.

Both coupe and convertible iBeetle models receive door mirror housings and side trim panels finished in Galvano Grey, black ‘iBeetle’ door sill plates and chrome badges, and 18-inch ‘Disc’ alloy wheels painted in Galvano Grey with chrome wheel covers.

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Inside, “Galvano Grey” features again on the steering wheel and dash, while a customised gear shift grip and black Vienna leather sport seats complete the special edition look.

Volkswagen will also offer the iPhone 5 interface as an optional extra, following the related integration of the iPhone 4 and 4S in the Beetle and Beetle Convertible in September this year.

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