It became, and remains, arguably the most recognizable car in the world. So, how could Volkswagen change the Beetle, one of the few mass-production cars you could call “iconic” and really mean it? Volkswagen did that successfully with the New Beetle in the 1990s, and now, arriving in time for fall, the company presents the all-new, hotter, more fun, more economical, better handling, more comfortable – Volkswagen Beetle.
The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle (MSRP starting at $18,995) will roll into showrooms in a few weeks. Behind it follows 60 years of devotion from owners who fell in love with the original or the popular successor, the 1998 New Beetle. Ahead of it awaits a world of car buyers seeking fun, performance, unique style, economy, safety and quality, all in the same affordable package. They will not be disappointed. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is, above all, a car for people who love to drive.
No conversation about the 2012 VW Beetle can start without addressing its shape. There’s no mistaking the Beetle for anything but a Beetle; the 2012 model’s shape pays close homage to the original in its rear profile while the overall look is bolder and more dynamic. The 2012 Beetle is six inches longer, 3.3 inches wider and a half-inch lower than the previous model, giving it a more hunkered-down look. Available 18- and 19-inch wheels reinforce the sporty stance.
The 2012 Beetle puts greater emphasis on driving performance and fun, and the interior delivers all the comfort and technology expected in a leading-edge 21st-century sport coupe. While the VW Beetle has come a long way from the “affordable, economical, reliable transportation” of 60 years ago to being a “21st-century sport coupe,” the amazing thing is that “affordable, economical, reliable” apply more strongly than ever, too.
You will feel the 21st
century influence when you drive any of the 2012 Beetle models. Like the previous New Beetle, the engine is up front in the 2012 version, not in the rear as in the original series. The rear hatch offers 10.9 cubic feet of trunk space, and the standard split/folding rear seat expands carrying capacity. Then, walk around to the front, open the hood and show off one of the three engines you can choose for the 2012 Beetle.
For 2012, the Beetle offers a choice of three engines. The 2.5L model comes powered by a 170-hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. It has 177 lb/ft of torque working through your choice of a standard five-speed manual or available six-speed automatic and delivers up to 31 mpg in highway driving. That’s about a 10 percent improvement over previous 2.5-liter models, and in a roomier car.
For super economy, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel delivers ultra-clean diesel technology in the form of a 140-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerhouse that pumps out 236 lb/ft of torque. Matched with either a six-speed manual or the acclaimed dual-clutch DSG® six-speed transmission - the latter offering super-quick automatic or manual shifts - the 2012 Beetle TDI Clean Diesel will return an estimated 40 mpg in highway driving. Around town or zipping up an on-ramp, that big hunk of torque will make you wonder how such high fuel economy is possible. It’s not magic, but it’s not far off.
For super-sporty driving, Volkswagen will offer the 200-hp turbocharged Beetle 2.0L TSI model, using the same engine that makes the VW GTI such a hoot to drive. Here also, you get the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG transmission. This engine will power the limited-availability 2012 Beetle Black Turbo Launch Edition. In the Beetle 2.0L TSI model, the package includes all the standard features of the Beetle 2.5L and adds Bluetooth® technology, iPod® connectivity, larger brakes with red calipers, sport seating surfaces, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, three additional dashboard gauges, alloy pedals and more. For the first time ever, navigation and keyless access/starting will be available in the Beetle, and you still get 30 mpg on the highway. Watch for details coming in future articles.
If the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has caught your eye, be assured that it will really satisfy out on the road. This one’s going to be hot, so don’t wait to ask about test-drive availability.