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27 July 2012: In order to increase the charm of the already oh-so appealing Beetle, the German auto manufacturer Volkswagen has decided to increase the trims of the Beetle convoy in UK. To keep things balanced both fuel options will be introduced, in the diesel fleet a 2.0-litre TDI turbo engine which is capable of producing 138bhp will be brought on board whereas in the petrol line-up a 2.0-litre TSI Turbocharged petrol powertrain which is capable of churning 197bhp will be introduced. Both the engine variants will be available in 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch DSG gearboxes. The 2.0 TDI diesel engine will come with two trims, mid-level Design and top-line Sport trim. The latest generation for the Volkswagen Beetle was revealed at the 2012 Auto Expo India which took place at New Delhi. However, the Indian Bettle lovers will have to wait a while as these variants are launched in UK as of now and Indian launch is not expected in the foreseeable future.
Volkswagen brought in Beetle in the year 1938 and ever since then, this economy car has produced over 21 million units and has become the longest running and most manufactured car with the single design platform. For many years at a stretch, Volkswagen Beetle had been the highest selling small car thanks to its built quality. With Beetle, started a new trend whereby many manufacturers brought in cars based on the rear engine and rear wheel drive layout and the number of such vehicles was increased to 26.6 percent in the Western European car production. In 1994 Concept One was unveiled by Volkswagen which had a retro look and resembled the original Beetle. Following this was the New Beetle, which is the version of the car that we know today. It was introduced in the year 1998. This variant of the car is built on the Golf platform. An year later, that is in 1999, it got the World’s most influential car of the 20th Century.
Volkswagen Beetle is an icon which was originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche. The car is bug shaped with a boxer engine that is located at the rear end and has a rear wheel drive. Like all German machines, Beetle has an overall excellence. The interior of the new hatchback uses high grade materials along with comfortable seats. The ambiance of the cabin is enhanced with MP3 compatible gamma radio CD player. On the outside, there are sleek headlights which add to the cuteness of the face of Volkswagen Beetle. The front face of the car seems to have a smile which gives the car a very nice look. The brake lights fit seamlessly in the design of Beetle. In terms of safety there is the Electronic Stabilisation Programme which features Anti-lock braking system along with reflectors and airbags for the safety of the passengers. As for the standard equipment list, there are electric front windows with anti-pinch and comfort, the driver seat gets height adjustment apparatus etc.
The car from the inside makes it a perfect drive, especially for the women with its oversized sunglasses holder, a vase behind the steering wheel, a large dead pedal which supports the feet in case of heels. The cabin is airy and comfortable if one is seated in the front but for those in the rear, it’s a cramped ride. The car comes with a good size boot space which once again makes it idle for women with their daily shopping sprees. The light steering add to the ease of driving, suspension is soft and the car has a nice low speed ride. Overall, Beetle is not for those who expect a lot out of their cars but for those who like how the car makes one feel. Only if you like the “aww” moments then Beetle is the choice or else, you should look at other options.
A little about Volkswagen Group in India, it was established in the year 2007 and has Passat, Jetta, Vento and Polo in its line-up of those that are assembled or manufactured in India whereas the line-up of imported cars include Touareg, New Beetle and the Phaeton. Volkswagen is considered to be amongst the luxury cars in India and the group also manufactures Audi, Skoda and Porsche.
The car, whether in its older generations or this new version, has always been very special because of its bug – shape which is unique to the auto industry. Beetle has a charisma which has been enhanced over the years with its evolving generations. The curves, bulging wheel arches and happy face give the car looks that makes anyone smile at the very first glance. In fact it is often said that “you cannot have a bad day, if you are driving a Beetle”. The car is a head turner and usually attracts a lot of attention wherever it may go. It has a retro styling and despite a few changes, it stays true to its original self. We see the separate wings, sloping headlamps and round tail lamps. From the look of it, the car is pretty wide and glass slopes that go all the way up till the roof line helps maintain the original Beetle look and feel. The front end of the car looks like a smiling face.
Talking about quality, like it is said, Germans are crazy about their machines, which stands true for Volkswagen as well. They have given the New Volkswagen Beetle extremely refined quality without any exceptions. The body of the car is reliable against rust, has high strength and stability along with high level of torsion. Whether the sleek headlamps or the rounder tail lamps; each part of the car has been crafted with precision and utmost quality materials. There is the third brake light that can be seen at the rear end of the car, right above the Volkswagen Marque. This light seamlessly fits the entire look of the car. Further the colour options for the car are also very energetic and lively. There is the salsa red, laser blue, black, candy white, reflex silver and the most popular of the list, the sunflower. The outside rear view mirrors have the indicators which add the necessary modernity to the otherwise retro – looks. The 195/65 R15 Houston alloy wheels are puncture resistance and give the car a decent stance. The other features are anti – intrusion beams, tinted glasses, body coloured handles, parking sensors, chrome finish around the body and few other things that give the car a sporty feel. Whatever said and done, Volkswagen Beetle is the cutest car around and therefore is one of the most favourite one for the females. The car is curvy and moves with a class of sophistication that attracts a lot of attention whether when it’s being driven around or just parked.
Beetle is a small car with a length of 4129mm, width of 1721mm and a height of 120mm. The ground clearance for it is 120mm which is not a good thing for it in India. The wheelbase for Beetle is 2502mm and the turning radius for it is 5.5 meters.
The German carmaker, Volkswagen is known for its quality and finish. The same can be seen from the interiors of Volkswagen Beetle. The seats offer great thigh and back support. The front seats have comfortable legroom but the rear seats are unsuitable for adults. The driver seat is height adjustable which makes sure that the driver is always in a comfortable position and has the best view of the road. After the bright colours that one can see on the outside, the black interiors inside provide for a contrast. The steering wheel is three spoke with metal. Dashboard is made of high quality materials and it is deep which puts the height adjustable feature of the driver seat to full use. There is a vase behind the steering wheel and sunglass holders along with space compartments spread all across the cabin. The dead pedal is wide enough on which one can rest their feet comfortably. The boot space is enough for light baggage. In comparison, outside of the Beetle catches much more attention than the interiors.
The dash board has the music system which is a 6 CD changer with a decent sound quality but you can’t be driving around with a very high volume without cracking up the sound. In terms of luxury, a steering mounted with audio controls is missed thoroughly. Also, the climate control is unavailable. The ESP – Electronic Stability Program comes into play as soon as it senses if the car is going sideways. The time and temperature display are place just above the interior rear view mirror. The doors get red lamps which light up in case the doors are left open and the power window switches are also place on the door, in quite an odd position. The cabin has a dust and pollen filter along with rage and reach adjustable steering wheel and heat insulating tinted glass. The steering wheel gets leather wrapping, the vanity mirror has illumination and there is a reading light at the rear as well. The dashboard gets blue illumination. Honestly, there isn’t much of the fancy stuff that one would expect from a car that is priced at this level.
The front legroom in Beetle is 1049mm whereas the legroom for the second row is 797mm only. It can comfortably hold 2 adults in but none in the rear seating. The rear seats are comfortable only for kids. 1000mm head room is present for the passengers in the front and 1404mm is the shoulder room.
The tuned 2.0-litre MPFI engine that is used in Beetle somehow responds a little slow. The initial responses when one starts the car are flat. It is only once the car crosses 2000rpm mark that it starts responding properly. Volkswagen Beetle can zip to 100kmph mark from 0 in about 13.63 seconds. The acceleration is not much but the tiptronic transmission does make it easy to drive. The top speed that’s achievable in a Beetle is about 180kmph. Quite honestly the car is not something that one would want to speed around in but if one is fond of quiet and relaxed drives, then Beetle is the way to go. The only thing fancy about the car is the exteriors and the interior quality.
Volkswagen Beetle is powered with a 4-cylinder petrol engine with a capacity of 2.0-litre and a displacement of 1984cc. The power churned out by the mill is 115bhp at rpm of 5400. The torque produced is about 172Nm at 3200rpm. This MPFI engine is a little dull and hence, shifting down the gears takes some time and one doesn’t get the power output that one desires for as soon as the accelerator is hit. However, once the driver is past 2000rpm the car finally gives a decent performance. It takes about 13.63 seconds for the Bug to reach the 100kmph mark from standstill. The 6 speed automatic tiptronic gearbox adds to the ease of driving. And the light steering makes it easy to drive the car especially in the city. It delivers a mileage of 8.5kmpl in the city and about 11kmpl on the highways. The top speed of the luxury hatch is 160kmph. The same engine was once used to power the Skoda Octavia.
With the 4-cylinder, 1984cc petrol engine Volkswagen Beetle is not very enthusiastic and shifting gears down takes a little effort. With this engine and gearbox, the car delivers a mileage of 8.5kmpl in the city and about 11kmpl on the highways. In terms of mileage the car is not very mileage friendly. The 6-speed tiptronic gearbox is slow but smooth undoubtedly.
The new Volkswagen Beetle is fun and sporty to ride. With 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine the power is good enough, though nothing spectacular. The engine is shared with the Golf GTI but for the Beetle it receives some tuning which results to a power output of 114.4bhp at 5400rpm and a torque of 172Nm at 3200rpm. The engine is refined and was also known for powering the Skoda Octavia 2.0 at some point of time. The MPFI results to a better combustion which results to power and performance. The gearshift is slow and downshifts take some time. The response from the engine is also not very quick.
Volkswagen Beetle gets the DVD MP3 compatible music system with 6 CD-changer and has a decent sound quality. The sound is best when played at a moderate volume. There aren’t any fancy features that one can see inside the Beetle. The climate control is missing but AC is very effective and the windows are heat insulated to keep the passengers in comfort irrespective of the weather outside. The front seats do get a heating system.
There are the ventilated brakes in front and the rear wheel has the disc brakes along with ABS with ESP. The Bug shaped Beetle gets the esque multi – link rear suspension which is from the Ford Focus along with electronic differential but this option is available only in the top models. As for the lower versions, there is the torsion beam suspension system. The suspension offers a very comfortable ride although the handling for Beetle isn’t top notch as expected out of a hatch priced at this level. The body roll can be felt and it’s not easy or comfortable to drive the hatch at high speed. The car does get a little bouncy often because of the soft suspension system. The car is best driven on the city roads, and at a relaxed speed.
One can find 4 airbags in this small hatch with engine immobiliser, wheel locks and alarm with interior protection. The handling however is not one of the high points for Beetle but the attention that it draws to itself and to the driver does cover up the flaw for those who like to be a centre of attention of the paparazzi. The EBS with ABS prevents the car from slipping in case of a slippery surface. There is the side impact bars, front seat belts with pre-tensioner, seat belt reminder, clear lens fog lamps along with tubeless tyres. There is the reverse guide system, child locks and central locking.
The tyres balancing Beetle is 195/65/15 Tubeless radials. There are the Houston alloy wheels which enhance the looks of the retro styled Beetle. All wheels are puncture resistant and thus offer with not just comfortable but stress free driving as well.
Looks, brand name, quality .
Mileage, lack of features as compared to the others in this price segment