When the original Beetle was launched in 1938, it was known simply as ‘the Volkswagen’ and quickly acquired a raft of nicknames from across the world. Whatever the name, the Beetle’s popularity is not in question, with 22.5 million sold over 74 years.

In the latest generation, an efficient engine and innovative features combine with heritage to make a modern classic – an icon, reimagined.

The design moves away from that of the New Beetle of 1998 and instead draws on cues from the original Beetle and Beetle Ragster concept shown in Detroit in 2005. The Beetle is now longer, wider and lower, giving it a more masculine and dynamic appearance.

The Beetle now measures 4,278 mm in length (+149 mm), 1,808 mm in width (+87 mm) and 1,477 in height (-21 mm). The track width front and rear, as well as the wheelbase at 2,524 mm, are also increased.

Overseen by Walter de Silva (Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand), with Marc Lichte the team leader for exterior design, the car’s new proportions mean the roof extends back further, the windscreen is shifted back and the rear section is now more akin to that of the original Beetle.

Inside the cabin, the Beetle’s designers created a modern, practical and distinctive appearance with easy to identify and ergonomic controls. Certain features, such as the glovebox and colour accent panels hark back to the original. The boot capacity is a practical 310 litres, up from 209 litres in the 1998 model. The Beetle has four seats, with a split-fold rear seat for added versatility.

A wide range of innovative optional equipment is also available, ranging from leather seats through satellite navigation to Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights – some of which are available for the first time on a Beetle.

There are also two optional packages available; Technology Package which offers Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime driving lights, keyless access, electronically foldable exterior mirrors and low tyre pressure indicators, and Sports Package which includes 18″ twister alloy wheels, dark tinted rear side and rear windows, sports instruments on dash and gearshift paddles when DSG is selected.

One economical engine will be offered in Australia; the 1.4 litre TSI twincharged petrol engine which supplies 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque. This engine is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard or with an optional 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG).

As well as being economical and environmentally sound, the Beetle is also built to be one of the safest cars on the road thanks not only to features such as standard ESP and four airbags but also a laserwelded and galvanised body structure which has one of the highest torsional rigidity values in the segment at 26,000 Nm/˚. This has already been recognised by Euro NCAP and ANCAP, both awarding the new car a top five-star safety rating.

Summary

Beetle made its debut at Shanghai Motor Show in April 2011
Over 22.5 million Beetles have been sold since the original model was created in 1938, putting it among the world’s top three most successful cars of all time; over one million of these were New Beetles, of which over 8,800 were sold in Australia
The 21st century Beetle is, like its predecessor, front-wheel drive, front engined and has three doors and four seats
Created by a team led by Walter de Silva (Group Design Chief) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand Head of Design), the latest Beetle is substantially longer, wider and lower than the outgoing car and on a marginally longer wheelbase, meaning it looks sportier, more masculine and dynamic
New proportions and design break with those of the 1998 version with a longer bonnet and steeper inclined windscreen moved back, making the latest model more akin to the 1938 original or the Ragster concept shown in Detroit in 1995
Dimensions are: length 4,278 mm (+149 mm); width 1,808 mm (+87); height 1,477 mm (-21); wheelbase 2,524 mm (+8); while track widths have also increased by 71 mm to 1,578 mm at the front and by 57 mm to 1,544 mm at the rear
Cargo capacity has increased and ranges from 310 litres to 905 litres with split/folding rear bench folded (previously 209/769)
On the road, new suspension contributes to a more dynamic driving performance than in the previous model. A very lightweight strut type set-up at the front is completed by semi-independent rear suspension
The Beetle is equipped with a high level of features including 17” alloy wheels, multifunction leather steering wheel, MDI (Media Device Interface), Bluetooth and colour co-ordinated dash and door panels; dual zone climate control air conditioning, parking sensors and power windows.
Safety is a priority with twin front and side/head airbags, plus ABS and ESP all standard. What’s more, the Beetle’s body is largely laserwelded and galvanised meaning it has one of the best torsional rigidity values in the segment at 26,000 Nm/˚.
Inside, the Beetle has an all new design; the bud vase is gone; the second glovebox integrated into the facia with an upward folding lid (familiar to those who know the air-cooled version) is back.
Ergonomic and easy to read, all dials and controls are within easy reach and sight.

A range of optional items are available including RNS/510 satellite navigation system, panoramic electric glass sunroof and Vienna leather appointed upholstery
Two packages available for the Beetle. Technology Package with Bi-Xenons and LED driving lights, keyless access, electronic exterior mirrors, low tyre pressure indicators and LED rear number plate light; as well as the Sport Package with 18” Twister alloy wheels, dark tinted windows (side and rear), sports instruments on dashboard, and steering wheel gearshift paddles (for DSG)
The 21st century model continues to be built at Volkswagen’s Puebla plant in Mexico, alongside the Jetta and Golf Wagon.

Production
The Beetle is produced at the Volkswagen de México plant and headquarters in Puebla – the capital of the federal state of the same name, 120 km south-east of Mexico City.

The plant occupies 3,000,000 m2 with about 480,000 m2 of building space. In January 2011, the cornerstone was laid for a new engine plant in Silao, in the central-Mexican state of Guanajuato. The Volkswagen facility in Puebla is the biggest automobile factory in Mexico. All the processes needed for complete car production, including the machining and assembly of engine and axle parts and the stamping of car body parts take place here.

The history of Volkswagen in Mexico began in 1954 with the first imported Classic Beetle. The company Volkswagen de México was founded in 1964 as a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. The first Beetle left the assembly line in Puebla on 23 March, 1967. On 31 July, 2003, the world’s last Classic Beetle was produced in Mexico. A limited edition of 3,000 special models was launched as the worthy farewell for this history-making car. In four decades, 1,691,542 of these cars were produced in Mexico, contributing to a total of 21,529,464 ‘bugs’ sold worldwide since 1946.

Pricing

Model
The Beetle 6-speed Manual $29,990
The Beetle 7-speed DSG $32,490

Options
Metallic/Pearl Effect Paint $500
Panoramic Electric Glass Sunroof $1,700
RNS510 Satellite Navigation System $2,500
Vienna Leather Appointed Upholstery $3,300
Technology Package $2,700
Sports Package $1,800
Anti-theft Alarm System $600
*Prices quoted are Manufacturer List Prices excluding dealer delivery charges,
which may vary from dealer to dealer and statutory charges, which vary from
state to state.

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