Redesigning an icon is never a simple task. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle represents the German automaker's latest take on the original Beetle that helped to open up American minds to the concept of an affordable European car in the 1960's. The 2012 edition of the Volkswagen Beetle provides an even more modern interpretation of the classic Beetle's styling than the 1990's-era revival, and it also incorporates a number of welcome mechanical and technological changes that help to make it the most pleasant to drive version of the car yet.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.
1. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Offers Fresh Looks
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle - note the dropping of "New" from the vehicle's title - features new sheet metal that stretches and flattens the previous generation model's rounded roofline and upright greenhouse. The extra visual distance between the Beetle's front and rear wheels, combined with the longer hood and swell of its rear fender wells definitely give the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle more of a sporty look while still maintaining the overall proportions that are indicative of the 60's coupe. The retro styling trend is one which appears to have spread throughout the entire automotive industry and the Beetle demonstrates that the engineers and designers at VW have been able to put together a legitimate second act for the car that helped to kick-start that particular vogue.
2. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Rides On A New Platform
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle snags a good portion of the platform that underpins the all-new Volkswagen Golf, thoroughly modernizing the hatchback's ride. The Volkswagen Beetle is now larger in every dimension than its predecessor, and its longer wheelbase offers increased stability and comfort while underway. The Beetle actually manages to increase the width of its track when compared against the Golf GTI, which improves cornering and helps to boost driver confidence at a wide range of speeds. It doesn't hurt that the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is also lower than the first-gen hatchback, and can be had with several different suspension setups (including a sporty multi-link) that further enhance the vehicle's handling.
3. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Features A Roomier Interior
A stretched and widened platform also translates into significant improvements in interior room for the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The vehicle's trunk, for example is almost 30 percent larger and offers 15.4 cubic feet of total storage space with the rear seatbacks in place. Fold them forward, and the amount of cargo room nearly doubles to 29.9 cubic feet in total. Sitting in the second row is also no longer as punishing as it was in the New Beetle, with even taller-than-average passengers enjoying acceptable levels of head and leg space - a surprise given the fact that the sweeping roofline drops precipitously towards the back of the vehicle.
4. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Offers Two Distinct Drivetrains
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle maintains a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine as its base power plant. Although similar in displacement to the motor found in the departed New Beetle, it makes 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque which represents an improvement of 20 ponies and nine additional lb-ft of twist over the older model. A brand new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has also been introduced for 2012, and this optional mill churns out a healthy 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque.
The 2.5-liter engine can be matched with either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, while the 2.0-liter turbo unit benefits from the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual that makes use of Volkswagen's DSG technology.
5. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Is An Efficient Compact Ride
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has received more than just an extra dose of horsepower under the hood - it has also gained greater fuel efficiency at the same time. The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine offers fuel economy of 22-mpg in stop and go driving and 29 miles per gallon on the highway, which is an improvement of two miles per gallon in the city and one mile per gallon during highway cruising when compared to the older New Beetle with the weaker version of the same engine. The Beetle Turbo manages to squeeze even more impressive fuel mileage numbers from its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder block, checking in with a rating of 22-mpg city and 30-mpg highway.
6. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Comes In Two Trim Levels
The entry-level 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a well-equipped compact car. The Beetle 2.5L features items such as power windows and door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, a trip computer and a CD player free of charge. This edition of the car also includes upscale equipment such as heated front seats, Volkswagen's leather-look vinyl upholstery, an iPod interface for the hatchback's stereo system and Bluetooth integration. The Turbo trim level represents the highest spec version of the car, and it brings with it upgraded cloth sport seats as well as a race-inspired exterior treatment that includes a rear spoiler, bigger wheels and fog lights.
7. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Can Be Customized With Options and Packages
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle can be configured with several different packages that are designed to improve the overall level of comfort and tech gear inside the automobile. Selecting the Sunroof package means not just enjoying a panoramic glass sunroof but also benefiting from a touchscreen multimedia system that features satellite radio as well as a set of steering wheel controls and a more comprehensive range of trip computer features. The Sunroof and Sound package (Turbo only) throws in a Fender sound system, while the Sunroof, Sound and Navigation package includes all of the above plus leather seats and a navigation system. Standalone options include a sport suspension for the Beetle Turbo, as well as HID headlights.
8. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Puts Safety First
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle offers VW's Intelligent Crash Response System, which is designed to unlock the vehicle's doors, activate the hazard lights and cut power to the fuel pump in the event of a serious accident. The Beetle also comes with front airbags for both forward occupants, side impact airbags for the driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that deploy along the entire length of the hatchback's cabin. Helping to keep VW drivers from ever having to contemplate a worst-case scenario are standard anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability control system that works to keep the car pointed straight and true regardless of how treacherous road conditions might get.
9. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle R Could Be Right Around The Corner
For those who want more hardcore performance than the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo can provide there is the specter of the Volkswagen Beetle R lurking just over the horizon. The Beetle R debuted at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, and it thrilled fans of the brand with its up-sized brakes and alloy wheels, dual exhaust setup, a lowered suspension and a wide-body treatment that adds a layer of menace to the hatchback's overall appearance. The Beetle R - which also gains a higher output version of the automobile's current turbocharged four-cylinder engine - has not been confirmed for American showrooms but it does indicate just how serious Volkswagen has become about filling out the sporty niches in its lineup.
10. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Makes It A Point To Be Affordable
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle starts at an MSRP of $19,795. This price is for the 2.5L trim, which can be enhanced with the Sunroof (MSRP $22,295) or Sunroof, Sound and Navigation (MSRP $24,095) packages. Buyers looking for the additional power of the Beetle Turbo can expect to cough up an MSRP of $23,395, while the Sunroof and Sound package and the Sunroof, Sound and Navigation packages add $3,000 and $5,600 respectively to the vehicle's price. This makes the Volkswagen Beetle slightly more expensive than the Volkswagen Golf in base form, but competitive with the Volkswagen GTI when opting for the Beetle Turbo.
You may also be interested in...
The Complete Beetle: A Photo History of the Volkswagen Beetle
Water Bug: 2012 VW Beetle Dives into Shark Week
March U.S. Auto Sales: 10 Big Winners
Boys and Bugs: New VW Beetle Attracting More Male Customers
Top-Rated Compact Car Autobytel & AutoPacific Consumer Award
VW Looks to Score Again in 2012 Super Bowl