Thursday, September 22, 2011

Drove the New Beetle Today

I've eagerly awaited a chance to drive the brand new VW Beetle. It represents a major change from the New Beetle of 1998 - 2011, and it did not disappoint. And the dealership had a 1950 model there for "comparison."

The new car looks a little scrunched down, in a good way, compared to the New Beetle. That vehicle, based on a mid 1990s show car, was amazing in reinterpreting the bug, but the 2012 takes it further. The windshield is really more upright, making a flat, longer hood. The window line is much higher--typical of today's cars. The taillamps manage to evoke the old (original) Beetle without copying.

Inside, the exterior-color plastic on the dash and doors recalls the painted metal of the past, and feels very different from pretty much anything else you can buy now. The yellow car I looked at in the showroom had a very bright (too much?) interior with all that yellow!

I had heard about the special retro glovebox, and there it is, on the face of the dash. You push the left side of the narrow lever and the door pops up. Reminds me of the hatch-opening VW logo that leans in to create a handle to pick up the door. The rear cargo space remains handy, with fold-down rear seats that will hold an average sized adult person.

The engines are standard Golf fare--a 2.5-liter four (170 horsepower) and a 2.0-liter turbo four that puts out 200 horses. That's the GTI engine, making the car fairly fast. I drove a white turbo model with the automatic and it felt strong and well-planted. The stats say 6.8 seconds zero to sixty, which is pretty good.

I can't wait for a nice weeklong test, but for now, it looks like a winner to me. I want mine with a manual six-speed, though.

1 comment:

McWong said...

I can't wait for the new VW Microbus to come out! I learned to drive in one of the old ones.

The Bug was my first real car purchase, and it was wonderful, if scary-dangerous at 84mph on the German Autobahn! My wife had one in later years too.