In the Metal:
Inside, the cabin is very like something you would find in a Golf or Scirocco. The plastics and materials used are of very high quality and there are some nice touches, such as the glovebox inspired by that of the original car. The steering wheel has a flattened bottom and gone is the built-in vase (thankfully). What there is lots of is space. The last model Beetle didn’t use space very well with too much dashboard in front of the driver and passenger and not enough rear space. All that is changed now and there is much better leg and headroom for the two rear passenger. This new design would almost certainly lend itself to a five-door version. Perhaps Volkswagen will follow MINI's example, who haven’t been afraid to add new versions to their nostalgic throwback.
Our test cars were 2.0-litre TFSi versions with 200hp so they did have quite a bit of grunt and this was mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox which was very slick. The 2.0-litre TFSi engine isn’t going to make it to Ireland for now, but we really liked it. We wouldn’t go as far as calling this a Beetle GTi but it is entertaining enough, with nicely weighted steering. We’d always say to pick the DSG option if your budget allows, because it is so good around town and then works really well when you want to push the car on harder.
In Ireland the majority of sales will come from either the 1.2-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel engines and we have yet to try these.
What you get for your Money: 3/5
Prices have yet to be confirmed as it's not due Irish showrooms until early 2012. VW has said it will cost from under €20,000 to around €30,000 for one with the full bells and whistles. There will be three trim levels on offer.
The initial line-up will consist of eight different cars, the first grade will the Beetle grade and that is available with the 1.2 TSi 105hp petrol and the 1.6 TDi 105hp diesel. That car gets 16” Steel wheels, manual air conditioning, ESP, Cruise Control and not much else.
Design spec adds 16” ‘Whirl’ alloy wheels, front comfort seats (are the standard ones uncomfortable then?), rain sensing wipers and additional instruments on the dashboard - Turbocharger pressure, oil temperature and stopwatch.
The Sport specification adds 17” ‘Spin’ Alloy wheels, black exterior mirror housings, an electronic diff and “Climatronic” automatic air conditioning.
More than 21.5 million examples of the Beetle have been sold since the original was launched in 1938.
The 1.6-litre diesel versions with both manual and DSG gearboxes will reside in Band A. The 1.2-litre TSi in Band B.
The new Beetle is a huge degree better than the car it replaces, although that wouldn’t really have been hard. It looks and drives really well. Of course, there is no real need for anyone to buy a Beetle, it is almost always going to be a car bought for emotional reasons. It is definitely going to give customers something to think about in the VW showroom. And now it will definitely get a male audience too.