Volkswagen Officially Unveils 2012 Beetle

Posted: Apr 18, 2011 11:25 a.m.

Volkswagen officially unveiled the 2012 Beetle today, ahead of the New York International Auto Show. Pricing has not yet been released, but the Beetle’s competitors include the Fiat 500 and the Mini Cooper. The former is priced at $15,500 and the latter starts at $20,100, so shoppers should expect the price to fall within that range. One slightly confusing update to keep in mind is that Volkswagen has decided to drop the “New” from the Beetle’s name. So, the 2010 model was the “New Beetle”, while the new 2012 is just the Beetle.

The new Beetle is longer and wider than the outgoing model, and features a more aggressively-raked windshield and more defined, masculine haunches. In fact, Left Lane News says that the new version will share only a few characteristics with its discontinued sibling. “Riding on a version of the A5 architecture that underpins the Volkswagen Jetta, the Beetle shares little more than powertrains with the outgoing car.”

The 2012 Beetle will offer three powertrains: the 2.5-liter five-cylinder gas engine that powered the 2010 New Beetle, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine, and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. The 2010 model also had the five-cylinder engine, and reviewers said that they liked its driving dynamics, calling it peppy and responsive. The 2012 model will likely be a bit heavier than the 2010, which could decrease the five-cylinder’s fun-to-drive factor, but the since there are two turbocharged engine options the 2012 New Beetle will probably remain an eager and speedy little car.

The new Beetle will likely be green as well as fun. “The 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine delivers around 105 horsepower while returning 65.7 mpg on the EU scale thanks to a start/stop and intelligent battery regeneration system,” according to Autoblog. “That equals out to around 54 mpg on the U.S. cycle, though the EPA may have something different to say should the oil burner show up in the States.”

So far, the new design has been controversial. Car and Driver writes, “While this version isn’t the design breakthrough its predecessor was, it’s also not an unabashed chick car. Consider the Beetle’s appeal broadened.” The 2012 Beetle will hit dealerships this fall.

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