This Is The New VW Beetle…

By | April 19, 2011

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New VW Beetle Profile
New VW Beetle Profile

I have a soft spot for Volkswagens – Beetles specifically. My dad built and rebuilt Baja Beetles as a teenager in the 60s. I’ve owned two New Beetles so far – a model that has become notoriously girly and as one friend described them, “gutless wonders” (although you are welcome to tell me that as we’re hugging curves effortlessly at illegal speeds).

But now VW has decided to shake off the “girly and gutless” stigma of the loveable little bug with the recent unveiling of the 21st Century New Beetle (though that teaser commercial during the Super Bowl didn’t help its case).

What can we say about this new development? I want to like it, but mostly it makes me throw up a bit in my mouth.

It’s longer by 152mm, 84mm wider and 12mm closer to the ground. That wider, squatter stance definitely lends to a “less pudgy” look than the previous generation, though we’re not convinced that’s a good thing. It also allows for a bigger sunroof, longer hood and bigger cabin – a blessing for those backseat riders over 4’11”.

Your options under that longer hood include the turbocharged 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel engine that will get you up to 40mpg on the highway, a 2.0L TSI turbocharged gasoline engine or – if you want to go crazy, the 2.5L 5-cylinder gasoline engine. You can opt for the 6-speed automatic transmission, or stick with the standard 5-speed manual.

What’s this? I’m suppose to believe this is a serious, sportier, smokin’ hot Beetle without a 6-speed MANUAL option? Poppycock. Why get me all excited when I can’t have any more gears to shift through?

The interior has more bells and whistles than ever before, offering a coupe experience complete with driver-oriented controls, in-dash satellite navigation and a more luxurious feeling overall than the previous generation’s form-follows-function interior.

Admittedly, there are a few interesting changes, but they’re completely overshadowed by the Beetle’s new look. Gone is the round, iconic sillouette. Replaced not by something that looks faster, sleeker or more visually exciting, but more like it was stomped on, squashed, forced to be something it shouldn’t. Its only decently pleasing angle is from the front at a 3/4 view, or straight on at the butt, which looks almost exactly like the previous generation anyway. One VW enthusiast even went as far as to say it heralded the dead PT Cruiser. From the VW blogpost on Feb 4, 2011:

“Awesome Ad, but after having a look around at the new look. I don’t think it’s great. It’s a further depart from the original and is starting to look more like a Chrysler PT Cruiser.”

I agree with that enthusiast. And I agree with Volkswagen. It’s NOT a Beetle.

The next VW for this girl is definitely going to be a Golf R.



Mike on April 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm.

It looks like a beetle mated with a 911. Now whether that’s a bad thing or not is up to you.

Chad Waite on April 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm.

Whoa, it totally does look like some weird 911/Beetle hybrid. I think it’s a terrible thing.

StephAnn on April 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm.

I have to clarify a point. My dad owned VWs in the 70s, not 60s. My bad.

And he likes the new looks. I forgave him, but only because he’s my father.

AJ Wilcox on April 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm.

Steph! Your article is awesome! Congratulations on getting published. I have to agree – the new beetle is both an affront to vw enthusiasts (A very forgiving bunch) as well as those looking to join in. I say it’s ugly, although I enjoyed the commercial.

Brandon on April 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm.

Call me crazy but I actually like it. Ha! I guess I am loyal to the brand after all. It looks a Helluva lot better than my wife’s uber lame and uber questionable-when-I-drive-it-by-myself Powder Blue “New Beetle”.

StephAnn Knotts on April 22, 2011 at 4:16 am.

oh that’s just because it’s powder blue. ;)

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