Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 50s Edition 1.4-litre 160PS manual.

Price: £24,895 (on the road).

Top speed: 128mph.

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds.

Fuel: 41.5mpg (combined figure).

CO2 emissions (g/km): 158.

Verdict: Pricey, stylish, sporty, nimble, great build quality and excellent engineering.

FUNKY and fun to drive – that’s the latest-generation Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet which features three special-edition models – the stylish 1950s, cool 60s and the elegant 70s.

Each has innovative features and nods to nostalgia on top of their design specification.

But if you must have the latest fashion item it will dent your wallet somewhat, with prices starting at £18,405 on the road, and rising to £26,510.

However, the Beetle cabriolet is as popular as ever with 21.5 million sold and, of course, this fun spin on the Golf comes with all the latest creature comforts and impeccable build quality inside and out to make it a modern classic.

VW has been canny enough to provide features of the original whose interior was something of an exercise in austerity within the famous hemispherical shape.

Drivers will appreciate the quality construction of the multi-layer hood with its glass rear screen that folds automatically in 9.5 seconds – even while driving at up to 31mph. And if there is a sudden rain storm the hood can be raised in just 11 seconds. Better still there is hardly any wind or road noise permeating though the roof.

As one might expect from VW, the cabriolet gets a good choice of motors that are all direct injection, four-cylinder and turbo charged. The three petrol units are the 1.2 TSi 105PS, 1.4 TSi 160PS and 2.0 TSi 210PS. The two diesels are 1.6 TDi 105PS BlueMotion technology and 2.0 TDi 140PS. Gearboxes are five or six-speed manual and six or seven-speed DSG automatics.

The original Beetle convertible arrived in 1949 and continued with a new cabriolet in 2002.

However, there are plenty of differences in the latest model which is lower, longer and wider than its predecessor to give more interior space and a little extra room in the boot which at 225 litres is 2.4 litres larger and which can be extended with the rear seat bench folded.

The cabriolet’s outline compromises on rear seat space and the boot’s opening is not the best shape for loading larger items.

But generally the cabriolet is roomy, particularly in the front, and it is an easy car to live with.

Few owners will be concerned about space worries and most will love their motor to bits and thoroughly enjoy the driving time.

One of the most impressive units is the 1.4-litre petrol with a punchy and very flexible 160PS engine. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, this engine really suits the cabriolet and provides plenty of power for most driving needs. It’s good on fuel, too, returning 41.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Cheapest of the special edition models is the 50s edition and fitted with this motor costs a weighty £24,895 on the road. But it has a wealth of the latest equipment and it must be remembered that the cabriolet commands a premium of around £3,000 over the coupe partly because of its roof and strong underpinnings.

And these latest cars are fitted with expensive multi-link suspension which does wonders for road holding and composure.

Underway the 50s edition is a comfortable and engaging drive.

It handles in a similar manner to the latest Golf and won’t throw up any surprises if you chicken out midway through a really sharp bend.

With its special alloy wheels and other body embellishments the 50s edition looks the part and inside there is a trendy gloss black dash and quality leather upholstery.

The standard equipment list is generous and includes an ESP electronic stabilisation programme with a network of airbags as well as a standard rollover protection system. This pops up from behind the rear head restraints in milliseconds if certain lateral acceleration or tilt values are exceeded.

Three standard trim levels are available in the UK – Beetle cabriolet, Design and Sport. There are plenty of options, too, and besides the touch screen navigation/radio system, the one expected to make the biggest impact is the Fender sound pack. Developed with the legendary electric guitar firm of the same name, it costs £525.