Volkswagen Beetle is an icon. This car tells a story. Only someone who knows its history could make a new generation of this Volkswagen a reality. The task ahead for the engineers was very clear. They had to develop a high-tech car that was still affordable, did not leave any stone unturned, integrated the communication
technologies of our times and of course achieved the lowest environmental impact. It also had to be a car that places driving fun at the forefront. The new generation VW Beetle would have to be a very agile, dynamic performer, and the people who developed the Golf GTI would also be able to achieve this.
Design target: "Design a new original!"
The most recognisable automotive design in the world. Coke bottle, iPhone, Ray Ban Aviator, Beetle - how does one reinvent a design that is so recognisable and independent? There is a clear answer to this: It is necessary to understand the product and the brand; then it works! 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!"
Challenge as a thrill. The team began its task under Bischoff's guidance. The challenge of designing a new Volkswagen Beetle was inspiring. The designers knew that they wanted to develop the original Beetle profile more than on the 1998 New Beetle. They also made very dynamic proportions a high priority. An interesting aspect was that more than a few team members actually own their own air-cooled Beetles.
It has also become a cult car among younger designers at Volkswagen. And that is how the final 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 in a room 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.
An original interior like no other
The cockpit makes a visual impression. Is it possible for a cockpit to make an impression? Are you kidding? By its very nature! Car drivers sit in the cockpit. Sometimes for hours at a time. And yet, there are cars whose cockpits do not leave any lasting impression. They have a "look alike" appearance, as the marketing people say - one easily mistaken for another, lacking charisma. The VW Beetle's cockpit, on the other hand, is unique, unmistakable, cool, classic and designed with a passion for detail. This cockpit is perceived as something special.
Everything within reach and sight. The shape and use of colour in the painted or carbon-look front facia panel of the dashboard hark back to the design of the first VW Beetle, yet the new car does not have a retro look. In Europe, for example, this facia is styled in "Schwarz uni" (Black) on the base model ("Beetle"); in the "Design" equipment line, it is always painted in the specific exterior colour. Customers choosing the "Sport" level get the carbon look ("Carbon Fibre"). Regardless of which colours are used, Volkswagen drivers will be able to locate every interior feature with their eyes closed.
And yet everything has been redesigned. Three round instruments arranged in front of the driver (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge) provide all key information; integrated in the speedometer (middle position) is a multifunction display. From the "Design" equipment level, the adjustable air vents and the instruments have chrome bezels. This also applies to the audio/navigation systems optimally located in the driver's visual field on the dashboard, framed by two air vents. This also includes the controls for the climate control system. Everything is within grasp and sight.
Comeback of the glovebox. Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward (the standard glovebox that is also integrated opens downward). Another classic feature: the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system: oil temperature, clock with stopwatch function and boost pressure gauge. Also new: the steering wheels specially designed for the Volkswagen Beetle with optional painted accents in the spokes depending on the equipment line. Details like these clearly indicate that the occupants are in a Beetle - there's no mistaking it.
Air-cooled Beetle. New Beetle. The Beetle. A distinguishing feature of The Beetle - the third generation if you will - 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 felt as if they were chauffeured because the bonnet was so far forward, the latest Volkswagen Beetle now offers an agile, driver-oriented coupé experience. 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. The car's styling, ergonomics, operability and quality interact to create a new, friendly car with a highly individual nature.
The New Beetle was a cathedral inside. In front, the Beetle is now somewhat lower in profile, since the domed roof of its predecessor has been eliminated. It now offers 1,044 mm interior height instead of the previous 1,082 mm. However, the 38 mm will hardly be missed, even by very tall drivers, since the New Beetle's interior was a "cathedral" among compact cars. Meanwhile, in the rear seating area, the longer roof section results in a distinctly larger feeling of space. The bootspace is significantly larger; it now holds 310 instead of 209 litres. As usual, the car has a split, folding rear seatback, and a wide opening bootlid making it is easy to load and unload.
Engines: top fuel economy of 40 mpg and 4.3 l/100km
US diesel with 140 PS. When it comes to engines, all signs point toward sustainability. In the USA, the VW Beetle will be offered as a turbodiesel for the first time. The Beetle 2.0 TDI (103 kW / 140 PS) meets all USA emission limits and attains 40 mpg fuel economy in the Highway cycle, 29 mpg in City driving, and 33 mpg combined. As a result, the Volkswagen Beetle is a good choice as one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class. Incidentally, the Volkswagen not only has excellent fuel economy values in the version with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but also - and this is a technical debut in the Beetle as well - with the optional 6-speed dual clutch transmission.
US petrol engines with 170 PS and 200 PS. Fuel economy values were also improved in the 2.5-litre five cylinder petrol engine, which was already a success in the previous model. The manually shifted VW Beetle attains 22 mpg (City), 31 mpg (Highway) and 25 mpg (combined). Its counterpart with a 6-speed automatic comes in at 22 mpg (City), 29 mpg (Highway) and 25 mpg (combined) - this represents an increase of up to 10 percent in fuel economy. Pioneering: even the Beetle 2.0 TSI with 147 kW / 200 PS of power attains a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg. The large TSI is also available with an optional 6-speed DSG.
World engines with 105 PS, 140 PS, 160 PS and 200 PS. In markets such as Asia, Australia, Europe and New Zealand, the new Volkswagen Beetle will be offered exclusively with charged engines. All engine versions - all of them with four cylinders - are being used for the first time in this model series. The car exhibits significantly reduced fuel consumption and emission values compared to the previous model thanks to the switch to turbo-petrol (TSI) and common rail turbodiesel direct injection engines (TDI). The three charged petrol engines of the Beetle output 77 kW / 105 PS, 118 kW / 160 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS. The two diesel engines develop 77 kW / 105 PS and 103 kW / 140 PS (TDI engines are not offered in China). All five engines may be combined with a dual clutch transmission as an option.