By on April 18, 2011

What was old has become new… again! After letting the old New Beetle languish on the market for a remarkable 13th year, VW has revisited its ’90s retro hit with a longer, lower, wider update on the new Jetta’s platform [The 2012 Beetle is 71.2 inches wide (3.3 inches wider), 58.5 inches tall (.5 inches lower) and 168.4 inches long (6 inches longer)]. The engine options are largely the same as the Jetta’, with TDI, 2.5 liter five-cylinder and 2.0 Turbo mills on offer, with a 200 HP range-topper offering an electronic limited-slip diff and dual-clutch gearbox.

Convertible and Hybrid versions should be coming down the pipe shortly, but for now all VW wants to talk about is the Beetle’s return to an original-style profile, its status as a “new original” and its ability to “respect the past while looking to the future.” Which is all well and good, but no matter how well the New New Beetle may tickle the Boomers’ retro sensibilities, it’s got nothing to to do with original Beetle’s values. If anything, the New New Beetle should do some of its best work by making at least a few sub-Boomers just a little bit nostalgic for the late 1990s, a simpler time when retro cars didn’t even have to be faithful to the original as long as they offered a plastic flower vase. Now those were some special times…

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52 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: And The Beetle Goes On Edition...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Looks like a baby 911.  Or rather it looks like the poorly doodled 911s in my high school notebook back in 1993.  (I was always better at drawing the basic shape of the Mustang or the lines of a 1957 Chevy convertible.) 

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    All they need to do is put the engine back in the back. Basing it on the Jetta will make it big enough to satisfy the US market, so I’m sure WV will make a mint selling – in effect – a retro Jetta coupe. Plus there’s still the (very faint) hope it’s big enough to leave space for a Scirocco in the lineup. Not likely, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah the one of the first things that struck me looking at the pic was how long the front end was.  Imagine how much lugage you could carry if the engine was in the back and the “hood” was the “trunk.” 

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Keep in mind that the original Beetle had the gas tank up front in order to balance out the weight of the engine in the rear, so there wasn’t as much space under the hood as you might think. I really couldn’t fit a suitcase up there in mine, and I was always a little uneasy about having the gas tank right in front of me as I drove.

        Edit: they also put the spare tire up there, further limiting the usable space.

      • 0 avatar
        cmoibenlepro

        At the rear of my car there is a gas tank and a spare tire, and yet the trunk is roomy.
        I guess the lack of space was more an effect of the dimensions and the round shape of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Well, it was a full size spare, and the shape of the front definitely cut into available space. The gas tank, however, rode pretty high, and I believe that most modern rear tank designs manage to put the tank partly under the rear seat (which is where the Beetle kept the battery). I think that the gas tank had to ride high in order to provide footwell space for the front passengers.

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        Maybe this means you’ll actually be able to do engine work without taking the front end off. I use to be on a VW mailing list inhabited by a VW Tech. He said you didn’t want to own a new Bug outside of warranty because most engine compartment related repairs required removal/replacement of the Bug’s nose – which added several hours to any repair.

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      Agree 100%.  After all, if GM could put an X-Body subframe in back to create the Fiero, why the heck can’t VW do the same???  Trunk in the front … love it!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not that VW can’t do it, it’s that they’d rather sell you a Porsche that costs five times as much.

    • 0 avatar

      The only small problem is that engine in the back is a very dumb idea. Original Bug was a deathtrap with no utility to speak of, compared to the typical FWD econobox of today. It was cheap and easy to maintain — products of excellent engineering to the set of requirements that do not exist anymore. This goes even for the best example of modern rear-engine ransport, Mitsu i. It still sucks for all the same reasons: there is no place to carry luggage.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    Its Herbie! Yayyy… Thats about the best you can expect from my generation.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Since the original bug was objectively a horrible car, the further they move away from those roots, the better!

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ride in a 1931 Model A Ford.  It reminded me of a VW Type-1 Beetle, but  on a much more austere level.  The Model A was a good car for its time.
       
      Objectively from a 1950s or 1960s viewpoint – the Type 1 Beetle was “objectively less horrible” than most of its 4 cylinder rivals that were marketed in the US at the time.  – That is, until the Japanese showed the world how to build a proper 4 cylinder car during the 1970s.
       
      The compact sixes during the 1960s from Detroit 3 were sleds that handled worse than even a Type 1 Beetle, which was nimble on a dry road – but a bit hairy on slippery surfaces.  By the time two of the Detroit 3 each decided to throw together a domestically produced subcompact resembling the typical European 4 cylinder economy car in both size and weight,  the VW Type 1′s era was already past.
       
      It had its era, as did the Model T and Model A.
       
       

      • 0 avatar
        SimonAlberta

        Not to argue with anything you’ve said but bear in mind that ALL vehicles handled like crap on crossply tires and most of the modern car’s handling improvememts are based on tires that get better and better. That is not to say that suspension design and tuning hasn’t also improved, of course it has. Just that, IMO, the bigger gains are from the tires.
         
        I say all this because my first car was crossply shod and was OK in the dry but downright dangerous in the wet. As soon as I put some decent radials on it took a quantum leap forward.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    The side view has a lot of PT Cruiser in it.

  • avatar

    That’s nice VW. Now where is my *redacted* Scirocco already?

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    Strange, but I like it! :-D
     
    They should have put Porsche styled headlamps instead of round ones, and it would be a sleek coupe.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    Yawn, another car that gets bigger in the remake.  How dull.

  • avatar
    JMII

    It looks better, the old “new” Beetle always looked like a cartoon bubble to me, this looks more like a real car. However the Audi LED “eyes” have to go, that look is already played out.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      The “Audi LED eyes” are optional.  The base model has conventional halogen headlights.
      http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2012-volkswagen-beetle-new-york-2011/#4065249
       

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Why didn’t they style it this way in the first place? Looks great! It’ll look awesome as a convertible, too. Now if only they would make the rear windows pop open so you wouldn’t need A/C all the time!

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Where’s the flower-pot thingie on the dashboard?  The cuteness factor goes WAY down if I don’t have a place to put a daisy.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    This design will always look odd when it’s got the engine and drivetrain in front.  A nice improvement over the New Beetle though.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Wow. I wasn’t expecting it to look that much like the original. It’s a little more ‘muscular’ looking, but as far as looks go, this is about as retro as retro gets.
     
    Still, I absolutely loved the 911 ‘fastback’ look of the original, and like this one just as much. I also love that it isn’t just another anonymous, aerodynamic, wedge shaped 4-door ‘coupe.’ Good stuff!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The wheels – that’s what’s wrong. Big flashy wheels are for guys who are insecure about their sexuality. The Beetle is a women’s car that also sells to men who are secure enough about themselves not to be bothered driving a women’s car.
     
     

  • avatar
    vbofw

    Wow, I cannot imagine how they could have done any better from a pure styling perspective.  Looks awesome with those nineteens

  • avatar
    carguy

    It sure looks better than before but my interest is still zero.
     
    The lack of a flower vase must really be bumming out the hippies.

  • avatar
    Prado

    A hatchback! Yes!!! Suddenly this car is on my radar.

  • avatar

    This looks a lot more interesting to me than the New Beetle.  Still a Beetle shape, but with a much more assertive stance,  I agree that the LEDs around the headlights need to go – they look even more offputting than on the Audis.

    If they can make this a poor man’s Porsche, VW may be on to something.  It’s Jetta roots concern me only inasmuch as the new Jetta is a big old dud of a car.  The New New Beetle will need interior quality and driving dynamics worthy of the VW name to be competitive.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Ain’t nothing wrong with the picture…it’s evolutionary yet more lean and purposeful looking, and with far better proportions, than the cartoonish original New Beetle. And it looks like they fixed the ridiculous “GM Dustbuster Minivan 3-foot Dashtop” problem of the last gen. I test drove an orig New Beetle when they first came out, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that I was driving it from the back seat.

    Another reasonable sized, sporty-ish, interesting COUPE for the US market…I say good. A more desirable VW than the watered-down Jetta, to me at least.

  • avatar

    I like it, but I have a problem with the gas mileage on the current one and would only consider one if they improved it. The 2.5 five-banger currently gets 27 mpg in the EPA combined cycle, while the 2.0 four gets 25. Now, when the upcoming Focus, Fiesta, Cruze, Elantra, and many similarly sized vehicles are getting plus-30 combined MPG in the same EPA cycle, the numbers just don’t stack up. It’s a cute car, with a nice sense of style, but there’s a lack of hippie sensibility here. Why can’t we get over 30 mpg combined with either four or five cylinder motors?

  • avatar
    grumpydok

    looks to be targeted at the MINI crowd now, instead of the aging hippie and high-school girl segments.  seems to be a major shift.

  • avatar

    I like it as well, never thought i’d say that about a beetle. Wish it came with suicide doors (like the RX-8).

  • avatar
    Monty

    This looks good – to me, the biggest difference is the windscreen being far less sharply raked, which should improve the visibility, and it makes it look more retro than the previous version.

  • avatar

    Seems pretty big to be a 2-door, reminds me of a Superbeetle I once had. Is it me or does the back end look more like a Pacer?

  • avatar
    mvlbr

    The exterior looks a tad bit better than the previous but the interior now looks to much like every other VW design.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Did anyone notice the electronic displays for most of the controls?   Reliable electrical components are not a VW strong point.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The current New Beetle is being driven by grandmas who wear Disney assessories.
    So, that market is tapped out and VW has to do something to make this car appealing to ladies under the age of 60.

    Not bad. If the price is right, it could be a very good car for girls attracted to the Fiat 500, but have someone reminding them that they should buy a car from a reputable manufacturer.

    This could be a good contender for the Hello Kitty! girl market.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I actually like this more than I thought I would. I had seen the spy shots and wondered what the ‘dressed’ one would look like. I would like to see the cheap-o version, though. All of the top of the line cars look pretty good, real design shows when the car is wearing ‘dog-dish’ wheel covers and no extra chrome trim.
     
    Once my daughter see this, she’ll probably want to get one. I hope it will be cheaper to purchase than the A4 she wants.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    200 HP with an optional more potent engine in a 2-door coupe that actually looks like a 911 which is a little taller and heavier, essentially a usable backseat.  The only issue I have is that it’s going to cost more than 20K to start.  If it started at 12-14k it would effectively compete with other econoboxes.  With it being essentially a mid-priced coupe with fair power but not great power like dedicated sports cars like the Z (which mangled the cheaper porsches in the 1970s) it will always be a 2nd best player.
     
    On a total side note:  This car is going to become my modern 914.  I’ll be picking one up in a decade and cranking up the turbo.  Maybe switching it out for a V6 from the passat replacement.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I first saw the official pics on vwvortex this morning. I liked it immediately, including the LED headlights. But I’m not a fan of the bling bling rims.
     
    I was considering a Golf TDI for my next car, but now it might be a Beetle TDI. VW has removed it as an option to build your own on vw.com at the moment. So I have no idea how much it might cost. But if it’s under $30000 in TDI form I might be interested. Apparently all the trim levels come with 4 wheel discs (unlike the Jetta) but only the 2.0T is coming with independent suspension at all 4 corners. The 2.5 and TDI get the twist beam rear axle like the A4 generation had. But you can also get cloth and “leatherette” along with a lot of other configuration options. Of course I’ll probably wait a few years to buy one because I have to wait and see what parts are prone to fail quickly.


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