GENEVA – Volkswagen AG will expand its convertible lineup beyond the Beetle to include a new model based off the Concept C, which bowed at the auto show here.

The concept is said to provide a clear interpretation of new styling cues that will appear on future Volkswagen-brand vehicles.

“This is the latest VW baby,” says Murat Gunak, head of Volkswagen Group design. “This vehicle provides a look at the new face for our new role (for the Volkswagen brand) in the future.”

VW plans to continue producing its Beetle convertible, while adding the yet unnamed 4-seat convertible to its product range. VW Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder confirms the new convertible has been given approval for production within the next two years.

VW expands convertible offering with the Concept C, which has been given the production go-ahead.

The Concept C’s front fascia is VW’s new face, with its aluminum V-shaped radiator grille and round headlamps. The V-outline of the grille flows into the hood, where a crisp line flows neatly into the A-pillar.

Wide shoulders over the front and rear wheels provide a more muscular stance, while the rear fascia mimics the front, with round taillamps and the VW logo placed prominently in the center of the trunk lid.

VW says it wanted to develop a convertible that looked equally harmonious in design with either the top up or down. That is partially achieved via the hardtop, which itself features an innovative retraction mechanism.

Concept C’s 5-level electro-hydraulic hardtop system can be fully retracted, but the roof also incorporates a power sunroof, making it the first hardtop convertible with such a feature, VW says.

When full open-air driving is desired, the simple push of a single button retracts the roof in a unique choreography. The sunroof opens to the back of the vehicle, then the rear windscreen, which includes the C-pillar, lifts up and glides forward, sandwiching the glass sunroof between the top and rear glass. The roof unit then slides into the trunk space.

Even with the roof stowed, the Concept C provides 7 cu.-ft. (0.2 cu.-m) of usable truck space for those trips to the mall or to take a few bags for a weekend getaway.

The Concept C is powered by a 2.0L direct-injection gasoline engine producing 150 hp mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

kekelly@primediabusiness.com