Only someone who knows and respects the Beetle’s heritage could produce a new generation of this storied vehicle. The task for Volkswagen engineers was clear. They had to develop a modern interpretation of the Beetle, with all the benefits of today’s technologies and efficiencies, and the driving characteristics that define the Volkswagen brand. The result had to remain affordable and stay true to the Beetle’s spirit and great heritage.
The design of the new Beetle presented another challenge. How does one reinvent a look that is so recognizable and unique? Volkswagen Group Design Chief Walter de Silva and Volkswagen Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff, welcomed the task and set an ambitious objective: "Design a new original!”
The designers wanted to develop the new car around the earliest Beetle profile rather than the 1998 New Beetle. They wanted a car that respects the past but looks toward the future. And that is what they created.
The 2012 Beetle is an automotive icon reinvented. Placing the original Beetle and the 21st Century Beetle next to one another, it’s clear that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical, but the overall look is bolder and more dynamic. The Beetle also breaks free of the design geometry defined by three semi-circles (front wing, rear wing, domed roof above it).
"The Beetle is now characterized by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front hood is longer, the front windshield is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. All of this creates a new dynamism,” explains Klaus Bischoff.
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 new focal point is the C-pillar. The development team also increased the car’s track widths and wheelbase. All of this gives the Beetle a powerful appearance with muscular tension.
Another feature is the rear spoiler that is integrated into the design (standard on 2.0L TSI engines with 200 hp). The top surface of the rear spoiler is black, while the underside is painted in body color.
The Beetle is sportier, offering both turbo-charged TDI® Clean Diesel and turbo-charged gasoline engines, in addition to dual exhaust, performance-handling packages, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and new, sleeker styling. Volkswagen will offer a panoramic roof, a range of audio options, including the Fender® Premium Audio System, and a customization program for the 2012 Beetle with a large number of personalization options, including a wide variety of colors and wraps along with an annual theme model.
The "cathedral ceiling” dome roof of the New Beetle has been replaced with a sleek and sporty roofline. Front and rear passenger headroom remains plentiful. In the rear seating area, the longer roof section results in more space. The trunk is significantly larger, offering 10.9 cubic feet of space. A split-folding rear seat and a wide opening trunk lid ease loading and unloading.
The 2012 Beetle will offer three engines: the 2.5L gasoline five cylinder, the 2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel and the 2.0L TSI® turbocharged gasoline engine. Transmission choices will include a 5-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic on 2.5L models. Volkswagen’s acclaimed DSG® 6-speed dual-clutch transmission will be offered on the TDI Clean Diesel and 2.0L TSI turbocharged gasoline models, while a 6-speed manual will come standard.
The 2012 Beetle 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever. The quiet, four cylinder 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel engine produces 140 hp and 236 lb.-ft of torque.
Fuel economy values are also improved up to 10 percent over prior 2.5L five cylinder engine models. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, it offers manufacturer estimates of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The optional 6-speed automatic offers manufacturer estimates of 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. The five cylinder engine produces 170 hp and 177 lb.-ft of torque.
The Beetle 2.0L TSI is the sportiest model offered. With 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft of torque, power delivery will remain smooth and direct across the rpm range. The four cylinder turbo engine is estimated to provide 30 mpg highway fuel economy. To ensure that power is applied properly in challenging conditions, the 2.0L TSI model features the XDS® cross differential (limited-slip) system. The system electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of slippage, transfers extra torque to the wheel or wheels with the most traction.
Source: Volkswagen press