Updated! : New Volkswagen Beetle - Beetle of a new era focuses fully on dynamics

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

WOLFSBURG / BERLIN : July 11, 2011 - Volkswagen is launching a new Beetle into the market. And this is anything but a commonplace event in the automotive world. That is because the original model of this car series – the Beetle – is one of the three most successful cars ever, with 21.5 million units sold. Now, the successor to these icons is making its way to the market.

Beetle shaped people’s consciousness

The Beetle has always held a special place in people’s hearts. Over the years, it has shaped people’s collective consciousness. Children painted a Beetle when they painted a car. Americans bought a Beetle when they bought a Volkswagen. Germans drove a Beetle when they drove the Economic Wonder of the 1950s. Europeans chose "Made in Germany" when they chose a Beetle. South Americans were excited about a Beetle, when they were excited about an extremely rugged car built on their continent.

New Beetle produced a car cult

Then the New Beetle debuted in the late 1990s. It brought with it Beetle Mania and a new automotive exuberance. Americans were excited about it, and Europeans too. The original Beetle wrote history as the car that moved the masses; the New Beetle offered a certain lifestyle, and it sold over one million units – alongside the Golf, which had long taken over the job of the original Beetle and became the most successful car in the world! By the dawn of the new millennium, it had become clear: the classic car, whether a Beetle or New Beetle, and whether it was from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s, had become a cult car. Furthermore: the various generations of the Beetle aka Beetle aka New Beetle reflected what is certainly the most recognisable automotive design in the world – a design that continues to win over the hearts of people of all generations.

Beetle of the year 2011 as the icon of a new era

Those who want to drive a car that shows emotions, offers dynamic performance, and yet provides lots of space – and as number 1 in the car pool masters everyday tasks and long journeys – will in the future think of the Beetle. This should be noted straight away, because dynamic performance alone no longer suffices: at 4.3 l/100 km (European 1.6 TDI) and 33 mpg (American 2.0 TDI), the new car is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever.

Design of the original, re-interpreted

Coke bottle, iPhone, Ray Ban Aviator, Leica M9, Beetle – how do you reinvent a design that is so recognisable and independent? There is a clear answer to this: you can only do it if you understand the product and the brand. Volkswagen Design Chief Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) "understand" both, and therefore they set this as the objective for the Beetle: "Design a new original!" And that is how the design of the 2011 Beetle came to be in Wolfsburg – a car of today as well as a design tribute to the automotive seed of an entire corporate group. And unmistakable indeed: If one were to take the first Beetle and the new Beetle and place them together – shining light just over the roofs and viewing them from the side – one would see that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical.

Dynamics in the style of the Ragster

A comparison to the 1998 New Beetle shows this: nothing remained as it was on the previous car model. "The Beetle is now characterised by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front bonnet is longer, the front windscreen is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. All of this creates a new dynamism," explains Klaus Bischoff. The roof profile actually runs distinctly lower and can be considered a continuation of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005 – a type of hot rod based on the New Beetle. The latest generation Beetle is bolder, more dynamic, more masculine.

Entirely new proportions

The figures confirm this: the new one is 1,808 mm wide (84 mm wider), 1,486 mm high (12 mm lower) and 4,278 mm long (152 mm longer). This has resulted in entirely new proportions. The gain in length means that the roof could be extended further, the front windscreen could be shifted back, and the rear section could follow the contour of the original Beetle. The new focal point is the C-pillar. In parallel, the development team increased the car’s track widths (front: 1,578 mm with gain of 63 mm; rear: 1,544 mm with gain 49 mm) and wheelbase (2,537 mm with gain of 22 mm). All of this gives the Beetle a powerful appearance with muscular tension.

3 equipment lines

In Europe, America and Australia / New Zealand, the Volkswagen will launch on the market in the 3 equipment lines "Beetle" (base version), "Design" (mid line) and "Sport" (top version). In China, the "Design" and "Sport" versions will be offered. Each of the equipment lines has an entirely independent character.

Black Turbo and White Turbo at launch

For the market launches in Europe and the USA, Volkswagen has created 2 very special versions – the "Black Turbo" and "White Turbo" – which are based on the high-performance Beetle Sport 2.0 TSI DSG (147 kW / 200 PS). They will be available alongside the other equipment lines. In the USA, the Beetle White Turbo will be delivered with a "Candy White" exterior, while in European countries the body colour will be "Pure White". On both sides of the Atlantic, the Beetle Black Turbo is painted in "Deep Black". Exterior features of the special editions include the "Turbo" signature on the sides (above the side sills) and on the colour-contrasting mirrors and wheels: on the White Turbo Beetle, the machine polished "Tornado" alloy wheels are in black as are the door mirror housings; on the Black Turbo Beetle, both of these features are trimmed in White. Inside, meanwhile, the dashboard, steering wheel badge and door panels are painted in body colour.

Tell me your name!

This time, there really is a country-specific nickname on the back of the car – that is, a name like Käfer, Beetle, Vocho, Coccinelle, Fusca, Maggiolino or 甲壳虫. Only if the customer wants this, of course. If a country really exists whose vernacular does not include a nickname for the bestseller, this is not a problem either: the Beetle signature can be selected. And of course there is another name available as an option: Volkswagen!

Interior also shows character

This is especially noticeable on the dashboard. The shape and use of colour in the painted or carbon-look front facia panel ("dash pad") hark back to the design of the first Beetle, yet the new car does not have a retro look. In Europe, for example, this panel is in "Monochrome Black" on the base model ("Beetle"); the panel in the "Design" equipment line is always painted in the exterior colour of the car body. Customers choosing the "Sport" – the new top version – get a panel with carbon look ("Carbon Fibre"). Regardless of which colours are used, Volkswagen drivers will be able to locate the car’s interior features with their eyes closed, such are the ergonomics of the cabin.

Comeback of the Beetle box and auxiliary instruments

Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox ("Beetle box") integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward (the standard glovebox that is integrated with it opens downward). Another classic feature: the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system: oil temperature, clock with chronometer function and boost pressure gauge. Also new: the steering wheels specially designed for the Beetle with painted accents in the spokes that differ depending on the equipment line.

It simply fits

A distinguishing feature of the contemporary Beetle is that its interior ergonomics and packaging are based on completely new parameters. While drivers in the air-cooled Beetle travelled in a very low-slung seat, and drivers of the New Beetle could feel as if they were being chauffeured, because the bonnet was so far forward, the latest Beetle now offers a driving experience that is a lot sportier. Every feature is within easy reach. In addition, Volkswagen has once again succeeded in implementing a quality of materials that goes beyond all class limits.

Plenty of space for 4 and lots of luggage

The car’s styling, ergonomics, operability and quality interact to create a new, friendly car with a highly individual nature. In addition, it offers everyday practicality: 4 adults have plenty of space, even on long journeys, and the boot can handle up to 905 litres of luggage. The panoramic tilt/slide sunroof lets the sunshine in during the winter, and a Fender sound system entertains during the drive. The Keyless Access locking and engine starting system is available for the first time in the Beetle; it operates without a traditional door or ignition key. And the latest generation engines ensure that the environment and budgets are impacted as little as possible. Engine power outputs range between 77 kW / 105 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS. The most fuel-efficient engine for Europe – the 1.6 TDI with 105 PS – consumes the noted 4.3 l/100 km. In the USA, the most fuel-efficient engine is the 2.0 TDI, which attains a Highway fuel economy of 40 mpg and offers fun that is in harmony with the environment.

Images : 2012 Volkswagen Beetle




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