After a couple of years' hiatus, Volkswagen is bringing back the modern Beetle convertible for 2013.The German automaker last made the New Beetle convertible for model year 2010, but had none in the lineup for 2011, and did not introduce one when the next generation Beetle arrived for 2012.There are three special-edition models, designed to take us back to the heydays of the original Beetle.First is the 50s Edition, which features 17-inch "Heritage" alloy wheels, a black exterior, a beige interior, and chrome exterior mirrors.Next is the 60s Edition, in Denim Blue with matching dash and steering-wheel trim, black and blue sport seats, and chrome mirrors.And then there's the 70s Edition, with disc alloy wheels, Toffee Brown exterior, beige interior, and chrome mirrors.Prices for the Special Edition models range from $26,095 to $32,395 (plus $795 freight).All of the newest Beetles come with Bluetooth connection, 17-inch alloy wheels, iPod hookups and color-matched dashboards.Beetle convertibles range in price from $24,995 for a basic model with automatic transmission to $32,295 for a turbo model with sound, navigation and automatic transmission.Front-wheel drive is standard, and three engines are available. The base engine is a 2.5-liter five-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque, and averaging 21 mpg in the city/27 on the highway. It's designed for regular unleaded gasoline.A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder offers 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque, with EPA ratings of 21 city/29 highway (automatic) or 21/30 (manual). It uses premium unleaded gas.For the best fuel economy, there is the 2.0-liter TDI (diesel) four-cylinder, rated at 140 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque. Its mileage ratings are 28 city/41 highway (manual).Six-speed manual transmissions are available only on the TDI and turbo models. The Beetle manual diesel is the most economical convertible on the highway.On my tester, the manual diesel, we managed 38 mpg, according to the onboard trip computer. Mine came with the audio and navigation options, and had the Basic Black exterior with a black soft top, for $29,195. The 17-inch painted-alloy wheels had five chiseled "V" spokes.The sound system was Volkswagen's Fender Premium audio with eight speakers -- two for each seating position. Along with satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and the Media Device Interface with included iPod cable, the audio system was outstanding and easy to program with a simple touch screen or simple buttons on the control panel or steering wheel.Volkswagen has added customizable colored ambient lighting to the Beetle convertible, allowing the interior to be subtly lit red, white or blue.The front seat was roomy, with 41.3 inches of legroom and 39.3 inches of headroom. The bucket seats were manually adjustable with lumbar support and heat. The front had several cubbies, including one near the driver's left knee.Cubbies and cupholders -- two in the middle of the console -- had removable rubber bottom liners for easy cleaning. The armrest opened up to a felt-lined tray. But the armrest extended over the edge of the rear cupholder, making it impossible to have a cup in the cupholder with the armrest down.In addition to the retro-inspired body-color dash and windowsills, the Beetle Convertible comes with a "kaeferfach" or "Beetle bin" -- an extra glovebox integrated into the dash, similar to that of the original Beetle.Also similar to the original Beetle, space was limited in the rear, with 37.6 inches of headroom and only 31.4 inches of legroom. The seatbacks were almost straight up, making them bench-like except for the bolstered/padded seat. The rear seating positions have anchors and hooks for child safety seats, making them ideal for the smaller folks.The navigation system was simple, easy and intuitive, with very few bells and whistles. It got me where I was going without giving me a headache first.The soft top was very easy to open, by pressing and holding a button for 9.5 seconds, and could be opened at speeds of up to 31 mph. It was a little chilly for going topless, but I did open the top to check it out (while parked).Side windows drop when the top is opened and rise when the top is closed. Closing takes a little longer -- 11 seconds -- because of the time it takes the roof to latch. A soft leatherette cover smoothes the silhouette behind the rear seat and adds a retro feel.To help decrease wind noise, the soft top is made of multiple layers including a synthetic rubber layer and a foam-laminated fabric headliner. The cabin was much quieter than our cloth top "other convertible," with just a little noise at highway speeds. The heatable rear window is made of tempered glass.Surprisingly, the trunk space -- 7.1 cubic feet, compared with the New Beetle's 5.0 cubic feet -- remains the same even when the top is down. An integrated wind-blocking system is available and stows neatly in a special compartment in the trunk, which also doesn't compromise trunk space.Rear seatbacks fold in a 50/50 configuration to allow access to the trunk from the cabin or allow longer items -- surfboards, skis -- to be hauled. However, the opening doesn't extend all the way to the sides of the trunk space, so the width of the objects is limited to approximately two feet.While I usually don't like to drive a manual, my Beetle TDI was relatively easy to handle with a smooth clutch and a shift indicator on the driver-information panel. Driving in traffic was easier with the "soft" clutch -- not so tiring.Volkswagen adds some ultra-high-strength steel reinforcements to the front side pillars, an additional center plate on the front roof cross-member, and more sheet metal to the lower body side-members, increasing the overall body stiffness by 20 percent.Also, behind the rear headrests, Volkswagen hid two high-strength steel beams for the Automatic Rollover Support System (a form of roll bars), which deploy with lightning-fast speed when a rollover is imminent.The Advanced Intelligent Crash Response System shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights following certain types of collisions.Total sticker price was $29,970 including freight, the Fender audio and the navigation, for my fun-to-drive and attractive Beetle soft-top convertible.The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams appear weekly in the Star-Telegram. Contact her at email@example.com.