When you're an Auto Spy, there isn't much down time so I went right from the LA Auto Show to the VW international Beetle Cabriolet launch in Santa Monica.

It was held at the swank Shore Hotel on Ocean Ave. and was done up in typical VW style.

Full 2013 VW Beetle Cabriolet Photo Gallery

Few vehicles are as iconic as the Beetle but other manufacturer's like MINI and Fiat have been trying to eat away at the mystique and get a piece of the pie.

One of the more interesting facts we learned in the product presentation was that many people who end up in the Beetle either came out of or were shopping the Camaro or Mustang!

We never would have though that.

Back in the late 70's and 80's I owned a Rabbit Diesel, Jetta Diesel, DASHER Diesel and a Rabbit Convertible.

And my older brother owned many Beetles and a Karmann Ghia.

So I grew up with VW's.

During the Carter gas crisis, I remember smiling in my Rabbit as i was getting 52, yes FIFTY-TWO miles to the gallon!

So if you were to ask me my favorite thing about the NEW Beetle Cabriolet is that unlike MINI, FIAT or others, you can get get a diesel version!

And after testing all the configs at the launch in my mind if you buy one, the ONLY one to get is the diesel.

There is NO downside in my opinion.

Although I'm not a potential candidate to buy a Beetle I can understand why a lot of people do and that the new VW is a MUCH better car than the last generation model.

It's quiet, has plenty of interior space, good power, good fuel economy (GREAT if you buy the diesel), has a wonderful interior and killer Fender sound system.

And the new design has LESS chick car stigma although I cannot imagine it ever being called masculine.

But that's ok. Neither is the Fiat or the MINI.

The are all unique designs and will attract a myriad of customer profiles.

I think the new Beetle has the best total quality in the MINI/Fiat comparison, but I personally prefer the more euro looking Fiat interior of the three.

And VW has no Abarth competitor yet in the Beetle lineup but we hope one is coming.

So if you need me to net out the main differences, here are the most important ones.

The Beetle is the best driver of the three (not including Abarth), has the most room inside to me, has the best sound system, is made the best AND comes in a Diesel.

Lastly, Beetle to MINI, the Beetle comes in a couple grand less.

So overall, the Beetle wins on points.

But all three are fashion statements to the buyers so who knows which will win in the end?

VW is also bringing three launch editions to the dealers. The 50's, 60's and 70's versions.

Take a look at our photos and let us know where YOU think it ranks vs. the competition and which models/color combos you like.

They even had some of the original Beetle Cabriolet's on hand to test out and remember how far cars have really come since then. A LONG WAY!!!

Spies, discuss....

Full Official LA Auto Show Photo Gallery

Did YOU check out this year's Black Friday gift guide care of AutoSpies? Plenty of great ideas right here:

AutoSpies' Black Friday Holiday Gift Guide

The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show's photo galleries are sponsored by Fiat

#LAAutoShow, #laas

FULL DISCLOSURE - VW paid for to attend the press launch of their new product and provided transportation, food and lodging.

SNAPSHOT REVIEW: 2013 VW Beetle Cabriolet Aims Sights Directly At MINI, Mustang, Camaro And Fiat

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