By on August 26, 2011

On Wednesday, your humble author had the opportunity to drive several of the newest Volkswagens on an identical 14-mile loop around rural Virginia. By adding a few unauthorized extensions to this loop, I was able to walk away from the day with a reasonable understanding of a few different VW models. Naturally, the four most interesting cars were the turbocharged compacts:

  • 2012 Beetle Turbo
  • 2012 Jetta GLI (tested in both DSG and manual form)
  • 2012 Golf GTI
  • Golf R (tested in Euro-market six-speed form)

None of these cars can be said to compete directly against each other, but I’ve decided to create an impromptu comparison test between the four. The ranking is solely my opinion and is not the result of collaboration, voting, free long-term bribes testers or an utterly inexcusable blurring of the already thin line between editorial and paid content Special Advertising Section placement.

The podium positions will be revealed on Monday through Wednesday, but there’s a loser in every group, and today we are meeting that loser: the charming but ultimately outclassed 2012 Beetle Turbo.

In the comments for yesterday’s Beetle 2.5 review, more than a few TTAC readers mentioned that they liked the “mini-911″ or “Audi-TT-esque” looks of the new car. Volkswagen isn’t shy about playing up that Porsche/Audi connection; just look at the Seventies “BEETLE” sticker laid along the rocker panel of the silver car at the top of said review. A “turbo” script which either mocks or pays tribute to the old 911 Turbo decklid badge is available as well.

The Turbo model starts at $23,395 for the six-speed manual model. Our tester was that base-ish car plus DSG, listing for $24,495. With all the goodies — nav, sunroof, leather interior, bi-xenons — you can break the $30K barrier pretty easily. That kind of money would almost put you into a five-liter Mustang. Trust me: if you’re at the stoplight in any Beetle Turbo and a five-point-oh rolls up next to you, hit your turn signal and pretend you don’t see the other guy.

Did I say “five-liter Mustang”? I meant “V-6 Mustang”. The 2.0T FSI engine, which debuted in the Mk V GTI, continues more or less unaltered in this car. Allow me to give you a short list of forced-induction two-something-liters with more power than this Beetle:

  • Kia Optima Turbo
  • Hyundai Sonata Turbo
  • Hyundai Genesis Koop 2.0T
  • every Japanese rally-rep to arrive on these shores, with the exception of the Mazda 323 GTX
  • Acura RDX
  • The old Cobalt SS
  • The even older Cobalt SS Supercharged
  • Saturn Ion Redline
  • 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4
  • That new BMW turbo four, if anybody cares
  • The 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T, which was basically a K-car made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Pretty much every other engine in the world

Get the idea? Is it any wonder the Beetle isn’t fast at all? About the most one can say about the Beetle Turbo is that it can run with traffic pretty well, as long as that traffic isn’t filled with V-6 Camrys bent on proving a point. Among sporting forced-induction small cars, only the MINI Cooper S is less impressive, producing a normally-aspirated Hyundai Elantra’s worth of power from its turbo 1.6.

Not that your Beetle Turbo buyer will be focused on raw speed. Rather, it will be the organic driving experience that pulls her in. Here’s the good news: on fast back roads, the Turbo inspires plenty of confidence. The limits are relatively high and there’s no bad behavior when you try to look for them. Volkswagen’s DSG transmission, as always, is an utter revelation when attacking a narrow, twisty one-and-a-half-lane. Cinch up your seatbelt, put your left foot on the brake pedal, and screw your courage to the sticking-place, as Lady Macbeth would say.

Believe me, you will see results. The old Beetle 1.8T couldn’t rock and roll like this one. The visibility was wonky, the driving position felt unnatural, and the chassis couldn’t really keep the wheels in check at all times. This one is improved by a factor of ten. Don’t get the impression that the new Turbo is some kind of novelty joke. It’s perfectly competent at hauling ass, within the limits of its relatively poky powerplant.

Unfortunately, “competent” is as far as you get. The biggest issue is the monster wheel syndrome that affects so many modern sporting cars. Never for a moment is it possible to forget the boat anchors attached to all four corners of the Turbo. They take effort to steer, accelerate, and stop. (Brake fade, by the way, shows up early, even on the street.) This is the skidpad-g-number school of handling. I bet it kicks all sorts of ass on a long, sharply curved freeway ramp.

Get it off the ramp and into some fast left-right transitions, however, and the Beetle just can’t muster up any desire. The steering feels slow and the ultimate grip available isn’t well-telegraphed back through the wheel. It’s easy to fall behind the road and start having to play catch-up, which only makes the unhurried response from the helm that much more frustrating.

As the second-lightest 2.0T Mk VI (the two-door GTI is listed at 3080lbs to the Beetle’s 3089), with the shortest wheelbase, this Turbo should be the fast-road superstar in the group. Instead, it’s the least enthusiastic of them all. What’s going on? I suspect that VW specifically tuned the steering and suspension to be less aggressive than that of the GTI. Just a little deliberate preservation of the boundaries, you see. There can’t be any other reason.

I wouldn’t expect anybody to be terribly discouraged from Beetle-buying intentions by this review. Nor should they be. The 2012 Beetle is cute inside and out, it’s a genuine improvement over its predecessor, and if you really need to hustle, it will be your partner, albeit a diffident one. It’s very far from being a bad car, but in this company, it is a no-brainer fourth place.

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75 Comments on “Volkswagen 2.0T Intramural League, Fourth Place: 2012 Beetle Turbo...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    Good review, I keenly await the next three installments. Comparisons like this are very helpful.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Monster Wheel Syndrome.

    Yep, I’ll buy that. Absolutely. And if the brakes fade that early, there’s probably no real blocker in downsizing the rims.

    It’s funny. People bitch all day about electronics that probably add ten pounds to the car and software that adds nothing, but completely ignore the big, fat, cast-from-Lead-we-can’t-use-in-children’s-toys Chinese-prison-cum-casting-plant flywheels at each corner.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      Yeah, I’ve come to despise the large wheels as well now. I test drove a few vehicles with them, and between the weight and harsh ride I’ve happily concluded that they’re definitely not for me.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The biggest eye-opener I ever had was the base Mini (fifteens) versus Mini Cooper S (seveteens; I think): the base model on fifteens was more amusing to drive, especially in normal circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        The base Mini 15′s are more fun on the racetrack, too. I think all Cooper S’s should come with smaller disc brakes with twin calipers just so they can use 15′s. Was saddened to learn that they recently upgraded Cooper S brakes to the old JCW brakes, which may not accept anything smaller than 16′s.

    • 0 avatar
      340-4

      “big, fat, cast-from-Lead-we-can’t-use-in-children’s-toys Chinese-prison-cum-casting-plant flywheels”

      Genius! LOL.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mini Cooper S (I just test drove one a last weekend) has 16″ run flats standard, which is what I would have optioned the car for. The 17″ wheels looked nicer, and that’s about it.

      Similarly, my Miata Sport model has 16″ wheels compared to the 17″ on the higher trim models, and I’ve never found them to be a disadvantage.

      It seems 99.9% of the times these oversized rims are just for show. Check out the 22″ rims on an Edge Sport. Ludicrous. It’s purely for marketing to have flashy numbers to put in the magazine ads.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      These oversize wheels are getting annoying. Our departed 93 civic had dinky 13-inchers but it changed direction well, had decent steering feel, and provided a ride that didn’t beat the tar out of you. Now compact cars are getting 17s and 18s. Ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I agree completely. I actually went -1 on my wheel size. When I was shopping, every salesman looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

        But I ended up saving so much money on replacement tires that it’s paid for the wheels, plus my car has a more pleasant ride. The handling is not noticeably degraded.

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        +2

        I always want the smallest rim that will clear my brakes.

        14-16″ is proper for a car; 15-17″ for a pickup or larger SUV. Wheel inflation is costing the motoring public billions per year in unnecessary tire costs.

        Anything over 18″ should be reserved for Commercial Vehicles. IMHO 22″s are only cool on steel duals with 10 lugs.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      I DON’T want my car pimped, thank you. I too think this big-wheel fad has to go. Too many negatives for those who appreciate (and understand) great vehicle handling and dynamics. And holy-Jesus: the cost of replacement! Now… which automaker will be brave enough not to force the 4 boat-anchors on all four corners to enthusiasts?

    • 0 avatar
      turtletop

      What psar said.

      Preaching to the choir here: back in the day, the whole point of alloy wheels was to reduce unsprung weight. Style was but a side effect.

      Now, we get stupidly heavy rims and overkill tread width tires as standard equipment on many cars, purely for style (and sales). Never mind that they bugger your handling, reduce your gas mileage and prematurely wear out your suspension… posturing is king in our culture! King, I tell you! Monster rims for everyman! Dubs at the Rent-a-Center to go with your giant chipboard-and-glue entertainment center (only 21.8% interest)! Steamroller rubber for commuter cars! Track suits for the obese! Italian marble countertops in mobile homes! Harley Davidsons for orthodontists! Barbed-wire arm tattoos for accountants!

      Meh. Just give me some steelies or some actual lightweight alloys please. 15″ max will be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      As the kids say, +1.

      For example, I’ll eventually bump up from the 14″ers on my NA miata, but only because there’s literally just one performance tire left in the 14″ size, not because I need to. If I tracked, I would, but on those 1.5 lane roads Jack mentions, I don’t.

      It’s pretty funny when I look at the relatively substantial 225/45-17s on my e46 touring and they are dwarfed by the tires on the econbox next to me in the parking lot.

  • avatar
    Hayden535

    The Beetle will allow you to transport 4 babes, while the Mustang will only allow you to transport 2.5.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    “Not that your Beetle Turbo buyer will be focused on raw speed. Rather, it will be the organic driving experience that pulls her in.”

    Pretty much extinguishes any hope that VW had of marketing this car toward men.

  • avatar
    mike978

    The 2.0 turbo is relatively slow by today’s standards but VW have produced 230hp for anniversary GTi models and I would not be surprised if they increased the power when the MkVII GTi arrives. The point is not absolute speed but acceleration through the gears, so say you are driving at 30 and want to overtake some traffic, the Turbo provides near instantaneous acceleration. This is more important for day to day drive-ability than drag races. The power is also kept low, in the UK at least, to reduce insurance rates. I also expect it has a positive impact on fuel economy too. If you need more power then get an R.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    you guys just don’t get it, the original Beetle was grossly underpowered, they just wanted to keep the tradition alive. Freaking K car variant had more oomph, embarrassing indeed!!

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Here in Canada the Beetle seems way overpriced. The base model starts at $24,475 (and that’s before freight, PDI and taxes), while a base Golf goes for $19,975. While I haven’t sat in a Beetle yet, I somehow doubt that it actually has $4,500 more value than the Golf. (It would certainly be interesting to do something like a True Delta comparison for the Canadian models.)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Years ago, before I had kids, I was ready to sign on the line for a base 350Z based on what a supposedly great value it was, according to (US) magazines. I’d figured I’d buy a base model, finance it, and upgrade it over the years.

      Imagine my shock and horror when the base Z in Canada ended up something like twenty grand more than the same car in the US. That US~$30K car was a CA$50K+ buy here. And that was when the dollars were nearly at par.

      I suspect VW is doing something similar, especially since Canada is a less troublesome market (the same reason why Hyundai/Kia don’t offer us the big warranty). They know we’re more likely to buy their product and don’t need to be as price-competitive.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I was seriously considering buying a 2012 Beetle (after I had test-driven it, of course), but once I saw the price I decided against it. I confess that I do like the look of the Beetle, but I have neither the desire nor the need to pay that much for what really amounts to little more than a fashion statement.

        p.s., I realize that pretty much any vehicle you buy (where you actually have a choice as to different types) is a statement of some sort, for it is an expression of your your own priorities, preferences, and so on. I will spend the few extra bucks for something I really like if I think it’s not too overpriced, and won’t hold it against anyone else if they’re willing to spend a little more than I would. Overall, however, I tend to place a higher priority on quality and value over other things, and in the Canadian market the Beetle is not a good enough value in my eyes.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Is there a “grey market” in Canada? That is, can you buy a car south of the border and drive it back home? Or do you lose your warranty and have other nasty consequences if you do that?

        I’m recalling the mid to late 1980s in the U.S. when the US $ was very strong against the Deutschmark. Mercedes and BMW’s North American arms were very anxious to keep prices up, if only to avoid horrendous depreciation of the cars their customers bought 4 years earlier. So, a pretty good grey market developed, importing and “federalizing” Benzes and BMWs. I know I test-drove a BMW 745 (a model not imported at all into the U.S.) with one of my law partners . . . a really nice and fast car, with a turbocharged 6 cylinder. Of course, there were no warranties and, supposedly, getting insurance was problematic as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Is there a “grey market” in Canada?

        There is, for cars that are made for US standards. Most cars made for the US can be imported into Canada, with minimal conversions required.

        The same is true in reverse, but the US has a few more hoops, such as requiring an odometer conversion. The rules are really designed to keep European-market cars out of the US; the Canadian cars are cut a lot more slack.

      • 0 avatar
        SimonAlberta

        Interestingly, when I arrived in Canada from UK 21 years ago I was stunned at how CHEAP cars were. The difference was HUGE.

        I may be a bit off, memory being fallible and all, but I think a 1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6 GL in UK was about 10,000 pounds. With an exchange rate of 2.4 or thereabouts that equates to $24,000 CDN. Sheesh…what would that have bought in 1990, what does it even buy NOW?

        At first I thought the difference was all tax (at that time cars had a “Special Car Tax” of 8% levied on the price then a WHOPPING 17% VAT added on TOP…yes, a tax on a tax…brilliant!

        Shocking as all that was (is), I did a bit of research and, surprise, on the few vehicles that were virtually identical in UK and Canada the LIST PRICE was also higher in UK.

        A TRIPLE WHAMMY. Higher price with grotesque taxes lumped on top.

        Now I know that the LIST PRICE of vehicles is different in every market. The manufacturers will charge as much as the market will stand, I guess.

        So, Canadians quit moaning and my American friends….you have NO IDEA how good you have it. Cheap cars, cheap gas, low taxes….WOW!

      • 0 avatar

        For at least a few years around 2000, and perhaps for longer than that, cars were substantially cheaper in Canada. I considered importing a Canadian car into the U.S., and many people did. Quite a few 1999-2000 Honda Odysseys were imported. For some reason Canadians didn’t complain then.

        Bottom line is that car prices will only fully adjust when car companies are sure the Canadian dollar will remain stronger than the U.S. dollar. They don’t want to dramatically adjust prices with exchange rates, as then people coming out of a car wouldn’t necessarily be able to buy the same thing again. It’s about stability more than profits.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Is there a “grey market” in Canada? That is, can you buy a car south of the border and drive it back home? Or do you lose your warranty and have other nasty consequences if you do that?

        That depends. You can import just about anything, with a few exceptions (the last Evo couldn’t pass Canadian bumper regs, for example, or you might need French-and-English airbag stickers on the visors) but warranty can be an hassle, and financing an even worse one.

        But if you can pay cash, yes, it can work out very well.

        A lot of marques played dirty pool with warranty coverage and put pressure on border-town dealers to avoid selling to Canadians. I always found it a little annoying that prices went up when Canadian dollar dropped but when the dollar approached par they never go down. In theory the automakers could have used F&PDI fees to deal with currency issues, but they also gouge heavily on those in Canada, too, and probably had to room to wiggle.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        There is a “grey market,” but it’s a lot smaller than you would think. Some companies like Honda (Acura) and others are up front in telling you they simply won’t honour the warranty on an American vehicle registered in Canada. Other companies like GM require that the vehicle be owned for a minimal period in the U.S. (e.g. six months) before they will cover the warranty. Toyota will claim to honour the warranty, but only with dealerships that are not near the border.

        The ones I hate the most, however, are BMW (Mini) and Mercedes. They require that you get the speedometer and odometer converted to metric and a couple of other relatively minor things (for the Canadian market) and further demand that they do the conversion or they won’t cover the warranty. Then they charge you thousands of dollars for the work, thereby negating any value you might have gained from importing the vehicle in the first place.

        Subaru is one of the better ones, but even there you have to pay for any warranty work done in Canada out of your own pocket and then send a request to Subaru America to get reimbursed for the work done. My problem is that the nearest Subaru dealership in Canada to me is two hours away, and having to drive over to Detroit to get warranty work done is too much of a hassle.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Is there a “grey market” in Canada?

      Yes, I’m driving a MKV GTI that I imported from the US. It’s a pretty easy process as long as the car is on the list of vehicles that meet the Canadian standards (which most major brands sold in the US do).

      In my case I saved thousands and the warranty is intact, but that isn’t always the case. Some manufacturers will make life difficult by not honouring the warranty or requiring the instrument cluster be changed at a dealer at a ridiculous price, etc.

      There’s not much saving on some models, but on others it’s very substantial indeed. It’s worth checking out anyway, if it looks like they’re charging an unreasonable Canadian price.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d love to add a database of Canadian specs and prices to the site. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time even finding the time to input the US data. I’m behind this year, but should get much more 2012 data uploaded in the coming weeks, now that I’ve got the updated reliability stats out (as of an hour ago).

      Looking forward to providing reliability stats as well for the latest VWs. So hopefully some of you take a chance of some first-year VeeDubs and sign up.

      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Easy to compare US vs Canadian prices/specs.

        http://ca.autos.yahoo.com for Canada

        vs

        http://autos.yahoo.com in the US.

        Or for say Brazil search “brasil yahoo” then click on ‘autos’

        http://br.yahoo.com

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        Interestingly enough a base Jeep Wrangler is about $3k cheaper North of the 49th Parallel.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        DenverMike

        That’s a good idea. Unfortunately the Canadian site lists the 12 Beetle as starting at $21,975 whereas Volkswagen Canada says that the Beetle starts at $24,475, so I’m not sure how reliable the rest of the comparison would be.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Jack, I suppose I could wait for the next reviews to roll in, but I’m curious: does the 2.0T feel this slow in the GTI and GLI? For years people have been calling it a sweet powerplant, but it has been unchanged for so long that everything else is catching up.

    • 0 avatar

      While I’m not Jack, I recently test drove both the GTI and CC with the turbo and the 6 speed.

      In the GTI the engine felt strong and smooth. Not blazing fast, but fun, none the less.

      In the CC, however, it felt much slower and was nothing special at all.

  • avatar

    Monster wheel syndrome? Imagine today’s car buyers’ reaction to the original Mini’s 10″ wheels. My brother has an old Mini that he hopes to restore some day. It still has the Dymo label on the heater box that a previous owner stuck there: “If God had wanted Minis to go 100 mph, he would have given them bigger wheels”.

    • 0 avatar
      allythom

      My very first car was a 1980 Mini 1000 with the 10″ wheels. The central speedo went to 90mph, I recall. The only car I ever got ‘off the clock’. Poor little thing was howling and shaking quite dramatically at that speed, so the experience was never repeated. After that, 80 seemed fast enough.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    The VW 2.0 TSI can easily go aother 50-60 hp with a chip, cheap speed for $500. If you’re into that sort of thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Certainly Jack would never advise chipping a car–it risks voiding the warranty!

      Are there other factors involved? The longitudinal 2.0T now produces only a few more horsepower but a bunch more torque. Why isn’t this engine in the transverse applications?

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        IMHO, solely to differentiate VW from Audi applications. The valve train is different on the Audis, which is the source of the torque gain. Of course, you can chip your VW 2.0t way past a stock Audi, but the Audi engine responds even better to modification.

  • avatar
    John R

    “…as long as that traffic isn’t filled with V-6 Camrys bent on proving a point.”

    Ha! That’s real talk.

  • avatar
    Kabayo

    Over 3000 pounds?

    Nevermind.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Great review. But I may have to rescind my hate of the 5-cylinder and alleged favor for the 4-cylinder, after reading this.

    For this motor to be bested by so many new and old cars is shameful.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it’s safe to say that VW isn’t trying to wring more than 200 horsepower from this engine in the associated models. They obviously could if they wanted to. So why don’t they? That’s the real story.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        I don’t want 200 hp at the front wheels, tugging at the steering and the limited contact patches. And what’s the use? Most of us don’t enjoy frequent track days. We worry about getting another 5,000 miles out of a set of tires, not wringing another second of track time out of them. Out on the real road, if you’re often finding that am 8-second 0-60 is too slow, you’re either a really poor driver or a real a$$hole.

        Anyhow, there’s just as much fun to be had in driving a slow car fast….

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I hope VW is working on some new engines for the next generation of North American market cars. The 2.0 turbo is losing ground. The 5 cylinder was an interesting alternative to the 1.8L fours of the competition, but now they’re stuffing it in the Passat and six years from now it will be really long in the tooth. And the 115hp 2.0L is, um…charming in its antiquity.

      From what Michael wrote, the turbo may have an easy remedy. But they will need better base engines next time around.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      @Michael

      Probably for the same reason that they tune the DSG differently in Europe than they do here. I just read a Motor Trend review in which a Volkswagen guy said that they didn’t think the US market would buy a DSG that shifted more like a manual. In other words, they think we’re wimps.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    17″ wheels and a APR tune would probably transform this car. This car already has enough power to get you into trouble with the law and that might just be enough for me anyhow. However, after seeing the pricing and this review, I might have to think more about a GTI instead even though it doesn’t have the looks.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    The Mustang comparison is apt as I am also considering a V6 or GT version. However, I still just can’t see myself in a Mustang as much as I can see myself in this car. The Mustang for all it’s improvements is still a more crude car and it’s owners tend to be as well. As much as I try not to let image sway me in car choices, it is tough to ignore in my part of the country. It is almost guaranteed you will never see a redneck in Beetle, even this more masculine one. While 4 out of 5 Mustangs are driven by hick kids or Dale Earnhardt Jr. wannabes. I still might end up with a Mustang, but I still think this Beetle is a cooler car.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Nice review, but criminy, I’m starting to think you’re tossing in the MINI references just to piss me off.
    Hyundai Elantra, 1.8 liter: 148 hp
    MINI S, 1.6 liter turbo: 181 hp

    Yeah, the VW produces more hp (with 25% more displacement it ekes out 10% more hp), but the Elantra isn’t even close.

  • avatar
    Advo

    Buy a Beetle to attract women, add a huge, aftermarket whale-tail spoiler to satisfy my masculine side. Hmmm…

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I test drove a 2009 Audi TT with the 2.0T. I was fast, not slow by any standards. Could be I feel that way because the low-end “snap” does likely make it feel faster than it is. After that I drove a 2009 A3 3.2 and, well, I bought the A3. The 3.2 was noticeably more fun. But the 2.0T was no slouch as far as I could tell.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      The 2.0t engines (there are actually two generations of this engine) have so much usable torque that they feel far quicker in the Golf-platform cars than they have any right to be. Contrast that with the “faster” cars on Jack’s list where a seat-of-the-pants impression might leave one wanting. Trust me, a Sonata turbo and a GTI feel just as fast as each other from the drivers seat… And you just cannot beat that engine note with any other turbo 4.

      • 0 avatar
        spyked

        Yep, the CC 2.0T at 200 hp, not even the newer version in the A4, isn’t much slower at all in the all important 0-60 than the Sonata Turbo. The VW 2.0T engines are clearly great engines, and the torque is available ANYTIME you want it.

        People get stuck on numbers when cars are really all about feel and feelings. How it feels and how it makes you feel. In that case, if you buy what you want, you win.

  • avatar
    spyked

    Who in a Beetle would EVER see the Ford next to them at a light, much less “race” it? Makes no sense to compare a Beetle or it’s pricing to a Ford Mustang.

    Again, if you are in the market for a cheap European hot hatch and don’t want a GTI, you can get a Beetle, MINI, or FIAT (when the Abarth gets here). Only the Beetle will feel solid at speed. What’s not to love? Nice materials, great looks, efficient, reliable, tried-and-true technology, safety, and good value. It’s a no brainer.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    There is constant complaining by journalists about touque steer in the Mazdaspeed 3. With front wheel drive, how much horsepower is too much, and how much is not enough? If VW bumped up the power to 250 hp or so like the Golf R’s engine in the FWD GTI, GLI, and Turbo Beetle, would that egender the same complaints?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Depends. Some cars have a pretty good front-end design and can cope with it (GM’s Delta cars, like the Ion Red Line and Cobalt SS) and some really can’t (the Viggen). The MS3 is decidedly nearer the Viggen.

      Hell, the Grand Prix GXP managed to put V8 levels of torque to the front wheels with less wheelspin than my 9-3 SE (which made about half as much). Assuming VW has done this well, it might not be an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Not from me. I owned an SRT-4 Mopar Stage 2 which had about 280 horsepower AT THE WHEELS and I was fine with it. In a straight line that car would smoke stock C5 Vettes.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Ok, come on: let’s give credit where it’s due, Jack.

    …The Spirit R/T was a freaking badass car. It was epic.

    The cylinder head? Designed by Lotus. It was a turbo-lagging, boost-induced torque-steering, wheel-spinning hooligan in a grandma car shell. Ditto it’s “sporty” (slower) cousin, the Dayton IROC R/T. I love the Spirit R/T. If I could find a good one, I’d get it. Just keep that T-belt changed and get some ARP head studs!

    As per the Beetle, hey – it’s not bad. You can actually consider it a car, not a fashion statement now.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    vw lies about engine power. similar to bmw on turbo engines.

    stock dyno runs all over the net have the mkvi putting down ~200 hp & 200ftlb at the wheel.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    If you expect cars to get faster and faster with every passing year, maybe it’s slow. But really, enough is enough. This isn’t a McLaren, or even a Porsche. VW’s mission has been to build pleasant, practical and stylish cars with a taste of performance, not the other way around.

  • avatar
    segfault

    But, how do the ride, handling, and acceleration compare to a Dodge Grand Caravan with the Pentastar V6? (We’ll go ahead and cede the van credit for passenger/cargo volume).

  • avatar
    Junebug

    “almost guaranteed you will never see a redneck in Beetle” Man, I’d love to prove you wrong! Maybe I’m not the Jeff Foxworthy ideal redneck, but, I grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina, drank my first beer (Schlitz) at 14, and first car was a 1972 Z28 with air shocks and dem big ol fat tires.


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