The ambitious and newly redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is the most exciting bug in the vehicle’s iconic history.
The Volkswagen design team approached the newest Beetle by, well, “squishing” the previous bug (by about half an inch). With its lower, more streamlined profile, elongated hood and steeper windshield, the 2012 re-imaging is sleeker, sportier and more aggressive than any Beetle preceding it.
In fact, it’s about six inches longer and over three inches wider, and though it maintains the retro feel that has made the modern Beetle so appealing, the 2012 model is decidedly bolder than its brethren. Curvy, muscular fenders and a dramatically arching roofline pay homage to the Beetles of the past while available bi-xenon headlights, foglights, a panoramic roof, 19-inch wheels and an athletic rear spoiler bring the newest bug nicely into the 21st
century. VW even promises a slew of appearance and feature customization options from wheel choices to interior and exterior colors.
The two-door’s sporty new getup paves the way for a trio of innovative and dynamic engine choices. Beetle 2.5L models start with an inline five-cylinder engine and a standard six-speed automatic transmission. With 170 hp in tow, the 2.5L fuel economy – EPA-estimated at 31 mpg highway – is 10 percent better than the previous model. Expect to see both five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions as well.
The most exciting addition is a critically-acclaimed 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine, attached to the aptly named 2.0L TSI®. With an automatic of its own, the turbo makes 200 hp and 207 lb/ft of torque, along with 30 highway mpg. The feisty VW turbo also gets a bigger set of brakes, along with some red calipers, a sport-tuned suspension and the XDS cross differential limited-slip system, which gives it a little more stability during racy maneuvers.
If it’s fuel economy you’re after, the new Beetle has you blanketed. In 2012, VW will outfit the newest Beetle with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged TDI clean diesel engine, which cranks out 140 hp and 236 lb/ft of torque and boosts highway mileage to an awesome 40, making the TDI Clean Diesel the most efficient Beetle to date.
The interior is unmistakably and unforgettably modern. A compact and sporty gauge cluster headlines a beautifully sculpted carbon-look dash with optional added gauges hovering over the center stack. A thick, commanding steering wheel and available leatherette sport seats ensure comfort without softening the hardened, race-inspired soul of the Beetle, which also offers an optional pair of gloveboxes, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and a standard eight-speaker stereo. An upgraded touchscreen-controlled unit and a concert-quality Fender® Premium Audio System are available as well, as is an integrated navigation system.
Beyond its iconic style and spirited performance, the 2012 Beetle is (as it always has been) exceptionally affordable. The 2.5L model starts at just $18,995, hundreds less than say, the base model MINI Cooper. And with a turbo diesel coming in 2012, it looks as though the new Volkswagen Beetle has some serious legs.