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Auto Show:  2012 Beijing Auto Show

Volkswagen E-Bugster Convertible Concept: Beijing Auto Show

author photo by Jeffrey Archer May 2012
  • The all-electric E-Bugster can go 110 miles on a single charge
  • Styling previews VW's upcoming Beetle Cabriolet
  • The droptop Beetle will likely use a gas engine when it debuts later this year

An all-new Beetle concept released by Volkswagen at this year's Beijing Auto Show previews the model's future as a convertible - and as an electric car. Powered by an all-electric drivetrain, the E-Bugster concept provides a glimpse at what a production-ready Beetle cabriolet may look like when it's revealed later this year.

The E-Bugster convertible concept shares many design cues with the original E-Bugster concept, a hardtop model released earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. Common stylistic traits include a white exterior finish, distinctive curved front fog lights, chrome five-spoke wheels and a low-slung, aggressive windshield that helps give both concepts a sporty stance.

The two E-Bugster concepts also share an all-electric drivetrain that features an electric motor mated to a lithium ion battery pack. Good for 114 horsepower and a muscular 199 pound-feet of torque, the powerplant helps propel the E-Bugster to 60 miles per hour from a standing stop in under 11 seconds - on par with many of today's electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Volkswagen also says the E-Bugster features a range of up to 110 miles and can be recharged in just 35 minutes using the automaker's quick charger.

But while the E-Bugster's drivetrain is certainly noteworthy, Beetle fans will likely be more interested in the convertible's styling. That's because the new concept clearly previews Volkswagen's upcoming Beetle convertible, which was dropped last year pending the iconic model's redesign. While an updated Beetle hatchback has been on sale since September, the cabriolet has remained purely speculation until now, with Volkswagen announcing that the concept "gives us the best hint yet at the look of the future Beetle Cabriolet."

Unfortunately for drivers looking to save the environment and improve their tan, we don't think the Beetle Cabriolet will include the E-Bugster's all-electric drivetrain when it finally does reach dealer showrooms. But we do expect the popular Beetle variant to bow at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show in November with the model's familiar 2.5-liter five-cylinder under the hood - and with the hatchback rated at nearly 30 miles per gallon in highway driving, the upcoming Beetle Cabriolet will certainly be no slouch when it comes to fuel efficiency.

What it means to you: Although the E-Bugster's electric drivetrain is impressive, its styling is even more impressive for Beetle fans eagerly awaiting a new convertible.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Volkswagen E-Bugster Convertible Concept: Beijing Auto Show - Autotrader