All-new 2012 Beetle blasts off with turbo version
BY IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media January 13, 2012 2:59PM
2012 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE TURBO
ENGINE: 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 22 city/30 highway
BASE PRICE: $29,025
AS TESTED: $29,865 (including $770 for destination)
Updated: January 16, 2012 10:07AM
Volkswagen has totally redesigned the Beetle for 2012 and you’ll notice that “new” no longer precedes Beetle. Ironically, the New Beetle, which is now the old version, had become long in the tooth, with no major revisions since it was reintroduced in 1998.
Now the third generation of this iconic car initially hits the streets with two models: the Beetle and sporty Beetle Turbo
A Beetle TDI version will be available later and is likely to be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever made with an estimated 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Plus, you can expect a convertible offering in the near future.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle keeps its traditional profile but with a bolder, more dynamic and hunkered-down look. The overall height of the 2012 Beetle is just 0.5 inches lower than its predecessor, but its new and aggressive stance is carried out thanks to its new design theme and the fact that the current offering is 3.3 inches wider and 6.0 inches longer than its precursor.
The 2012 Beetle has a longer hood and its windshield has been shifted farther back with a steeper incline. I like the more aggressive styling and passengers will appreciate that the cabin has grown from 81 to 85 cubic feet.
Additionally, the trunk is significantly larger and its wider opening makes it easier to load and unload items. It now offers 15.4 cubic feet of space. That’s an increase of 3.4 cubic feet.
Another improvement is that the cargo capacity increases to 29.9 cubic feet when the split-folding (new for 2012) rear seat backs are folded down.
Even though the “cathedral ceiling” dome roof of the previous model has been replaced with a sleeker and sportier roofline, there’s still plenty of headroom for all four occupants in the 2012 Beetle. Still, taller passengers will likely find the rear seat to be a tad short on legroom.
Up front, there’s plenty of head and legroom. The newly designed instrument panel is more agreeable to me and the controls are easy to reach and operate. Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glove box integrated into the dashboard and it’s known as the “kaeferfach” or Beetle bin.
Another classic feature is the optional auxiliary instrumentation package above the audio/navigation system that consists of an oil temperature gauge, a clock with stopwatch function and a boost pressure gauge.
Yes, for the first time in its history, a navigation system is offered in the Beetle. My 2012 Beetle Turbo tester featured this option, which includes a 5-inch touch-screen display. While the nav display is a bit smaller than most, I did enjoy using it and found it to be quite useful for a two-day trip to St. Louis.
I also enjoyed the upgraded concert-quality Fender premium audio system and panoramic tilt/slide glass sunroof found in my Turbo tester.
While the base Beetle is powered by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine, the Turbo model features a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The Turbo offered surprisingly good power. While driving back from St. Louis on Interstate 55 I passed a slower-moving Mercury Marauder around Braidwood. The driver in the Marauder didn’t seem to care for being passed by a Beetle as he attempted to overtake me. To his chagrin, my Beetle Turbo tester held its ground and kept the Marauder behind us until I exited onto Interstate 80.
The 2012 VW Beetle comes well equipped with prices starting around $19,000. Starting price for the Beetle Turbo is $23,395. My tester had a number of options, hence the almost $30,000 price tag.
The roomier and better-looking 2012 VW Beetle should bring new enthusiasm to those interested in driving something small, functional and unique.
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