Logo



VW’s new New Beetle

Teased during the Super Bowl, the New Beetle is now even newer, making its first big evolutionary leap since the car debuted in 1997. The new New Beetle is squashed and stretched and feigning aggression from most angles — reflecting VW’s desire to re-masculate the Beetle franchise. Because honestly, not enough of the car market is aimed at young men. Am I right, fellas? Now we here at MF haven’t gotten any wheel time in the new New Beetle just yet, but here are two first impressions worth checking out:

Jalopnik’s First Drive of the VW Beetle

Autoblog’s Review of the VW Beetle Turbo

If you really want to dive head first into all things new New Beetle, head on over to VW Vortex and catch their in-depth coverage of the Beetle launch.

Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • hFred

    It has a cleaner, more “coherent” look than the MINI Coupe, with none of the body parts looking re-purposed.

    • Anonymous

      Of course, such calls are entirely subjective and needn’t be justified. That said, I think the MINI Coupe presents a very coherent design, but could be greatly improved with a new “hat” design. The roof line continues to draw attention to its discordant design and disrupted flow. Personally, I prefer the Roadster for this reason alone, although given a choice, I would prefer a better designed Coupe. I would opt for the Roadster not because it affords open-air motoring, but solely because it eliminates the peculiar looking, incongruous roof. 

  • Dr Obnxs

    Not the car for me, but I wish VW well on this one.

  • Jon

    I’m intrigued by the 2.0T version of this car. Will it provide GTI-like handling/driving fun? Several aftermarket tuners, including the folks at VWVortex.com have already started having a lot of fun with this car. I think it will surprise many of us die-hard MINI fanatics, just how much the revised Beetle will be cross-shopped with the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. Everyone has been talking about how the Fiat 500 is the first real challenger in many years, (if ever), to the MINI, but I’d wager a dollar that the Beetle will soon be in many comparo’s against our beloved MINI…

  • Jon

    I’m intrigued by the 2.0T version of this car. Will it provide GTI-like handling/driving fun? Several aftermarket tuners, including the folks at VWVortex.com have already started having a lot of fun with this car. I think it will surprise many of us die-hard MINI fanatics, just how much the revised Beetle will be cross-shopped with the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. Everyone has been talking about how the Fiat 500 is the first real challenger in many years, (if ever), to the MINI, but I’d wager a dollar that the Beetle will soon be in many comparo’s against our beloved MINI…

    • Anonymous

      [the Beetle will soon be in many comparo’s against our beloved MINI…] Without doubt — both price and design will be compared. However, I would wager my buck that the two audiences i.e., MINI v. VW are significantly different enough to enable both cars to fill their respective arenas. Like Reply

  • Jon

    I’m intrigued by the 2.0T version of this car. Will it provide GTI-like handling/driving fun? Several aftermarket tuners, including the folks at VWVortex.com have already started having a lot of fun with this car. I think it will surprise many of us die-hard MINI fanatics, just how much the revised Beetle will be cross-shopped with the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. Everyone has been talking about how the Fiat 500 is the first real challenger in many years, (if ever), to the MINI, but I’d wager a dollar that the Beetle will soon be in many comparo’s against our beloved MINI…

  • Jon

    I’m intrigued by the 2.0T version of this car. Will it provide GTI-like handling/driving fun? Several aftermarket tuners, including the folks at VWVortex.com have already started having a lot of fun with this car. I think it will surprise many of us die-hard MINI fanatics, just how much the revised Beetle will be cross-shopped with the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. Everyone has been talking about how the Fiat 500 is the first real challenger in many years, (if ever), to the MINI, but I’d wager a dollar that the Beetle will soon be in many comparo’s against our beloved MINI…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Eaves/100002517570191 Scott Eaves

    For some reason when viewing the side view shots, the rear reminds me of a PT Cruiser…

  • Anonymous

    I guess the challenge of updating a retro design, third gen for the Beetle and soon the Mini, is a great one. The R50/53 Mini’s original charm has become somewhat diluted in the second gen and while it’s too early to tell I am afraid it will be more so in the upcoming design. Rumors of door creases and turned down roof details point to a design dead that will be dragged and kicked into the future by decorative changes but no new design ideas. I am still hoping Mini will prove me wrong but I am keeping an eye out for the US 500 Abarth introduction.

  • Anonymous

    I guess the challenge of updating a retro design, third gen for the Beetle and soon the Mini, is a great one. The R50/53 Mini’s original charm has become somewhat diluted in the second gen and while it’s too early to tell I am afraid it will be more so in the upcoming design. Rumors of door creases and turned down roof details point to a design dead that will be dragged and kicked into the future by decorative changes but no new design ideas. I am still hoping Mini will prove me wrong but I am keeping an eye out for the US 500 Abarth introduction.

    • Anonymous

      [The R50/53 Mini’s original charm has become somewhat diluted in the second gen] Agree

  • goat

    The photos of the silver-and-striped example are particularly unflattering. Partly for the stripes, partly for the tiny 17″ wheels (trust me, on this body and with those flared fenders you need 18″ wheels as a minimum and 19″ wheels would be even better aesthetically). 

    I have seen other photos of this car in the turbo trim and it is quite a purposeful and interesting looking thing (see VWVortex forums as mentioned by MF). I agree with the poster above that a lot of people will cross-shop this versus the MINI. And I can vouch second-hand (my sister has a 2002) that the car is actually quite reliable, very roomy up front, and fairly commodious – in other words, quite a practical daily driver despite its ‘stylish’ affectations. Now throw in what should be a much better sorted chassis from the current Mk6 Golf/GTI, cleaned up interior layout, and edgier exterior styling and you should have quite an appealing alternative to the MINI S (and the Fiat 500 abarth, despite the VW being a half-size larger in every dimension). I’m glad to see this car arrive… an update to the New Beetle was LONG overdue and the very cool “Turbo S” model (which in many ways looked like a mini-911) was too short-lived in the Canadian market.

  • Anonymous

    don’t love the black bar on the lower grill – is this supposed to be the new VW family design language? I think the new jetta/passat has the same treatment? bleh

  • Anonymous

    I must commend VW for finally replacing the “New Beetle” with a much less whimsical design. I mean, even “Herbie, the Love Bug” was much more serious looking, paint job notwithstanding. The A5 based iteration appears to present a much more handsome silhouette. Without mentioning design minutia details, I think the overall composition offers a vast improvement over its predecessor. And replacing the flower vase with a glove box attests to VW’s intent to de-feminize the iconic model that has attracted male buyers for generations. 

    While I can appreciate the functional benefit of a larger vehicle, from an aesthetic perspective, I am not enamored by its increased size. Like MINI, VW has eschewed tradition by electing to make the Beetle an alt-around more practical vehicle versus keeping its (pre-New Beetle) scale intact. There is really no need for VW or MINI to put there traditional models on growth hormones given the range of models available. Increasing scale detracts from the uniqueness of the model. Both MINI and the Beetle should look like classic Shuco wind-up cars, and not like many 21st century American “Biggest Loser” contestants. 

    Again, on a positive note, the car looks fairly nice sans the cathedral ceiling and ping-pong table dash. Scale remains its main detractor. If I were on the design team at VW, I would suggest a slim fast diet and an even more radical chop off the top to give it a “Speedster-like” appearance. I can imagine this car incorporating R32 running gear with a VR6 engine. Regrettably, the anticipated VII series Golf is far less impressive than the Beetle. The Beetle has potential. It may just be another instance requiring visual adjustment over time. I an sure that tuners and the after market will do a commendable job refining the design and perhaps adding a few steeds to the under hood stable.

    I suspect Wolfsburg has created a winner. Will the Scirocco upstage the Beetle? Time will tell. Nearly neglected to mentioned the upcoming Jetta Coupe. It could also compromise the Beetle’s sales success.

  • Dr Obnxs

    I was listening to some stuff from one of the Automotive news outlets, and projections have the VW group being the #2 automaker sometime around 2015 and the #1 by 2020. This is world wide sales ranking. Anyway, expect a lot more from VW and it’s other brands….

  • Anonymous

    It seems that everything is growing — our cars, our waistlines, taxation, gas prices, the national debt, cost of education and medical care, and unemployment. Everything, that is, except our incomes and real estate values. I say swim upstream, buck the tide, march to your own drummers MINI and VW. Think Small. That was the classic message VW made famous in the 60s. How about manifesting that credo once again. It would not only be “politically correct,” and sound the anti-Hummer battle cry. It would serve to preserve tradition and … above all else, be cool!

    • Dr Obnxs

      Sounds fine, unless you look at the numbers. In the US, gov income as a percentage of GDP are near all time lows at a bit less than 15% of GDP. Post war average is about 18.5%, during Reagans administration it was 18.2%.

      http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/are-taxes-in-the-u-s-high-or-low/

      You may or may not like the author, but the numbers are undeniable.

      • Anonymous

        [Sounds fine, unless you look at the numbers. In the US, gov income as a percentage of GDP are near all time lows at a bit less than 15% of GDP]

        Looks like your numbers corroborate my comment i.e., that national debt is growing, in part, due to diminished taxable domestic GDP, hence greater income taxes and/or “faster” U.S. Treasury printers will be used to compensate for the shortfall.

  • Les

    I’ve owned a 2000 VW Beetle Turbo, 2002 R50, and a 2006 VW Beetle TDI. All three are very different cars, but they all share something very important in common. Anyone can get in and figure out how to turn on the AC, play with the radio, and move about the cabin with ease. That is why I think so many people still flock to the R50 R53 cars. In the same way, the Beetle was incredibly easy to drive, and had a simply dash board lay out. The new Beetle is harsh. It’s trying to be everything for everyone and it has lost the “Peoples Car” touch. Its lost its simplicity. 

  • Anonymous

    The interior design is decidedly echoing classic VW Beetle roots. The fascia layout, including a requisite glove box, seating, and reduced roof dome all lend desirable, and long missed, authentic character to this vehicle. I can’t say that I see the PT Cruiser resemblance that has been mentioned. Portions of the side profile, if anything, have slight nuances suggesting 1940s Chevrolets or perhaps late ’50s/early ’60s Volvos — particularly the roof line and rear side and back windows, nonetheless it is unmistakably Volkswagen. 

    As the Autoblog article states, the 138 hp TDI may be the calling card, particularly the cabriolet version. Hopefully, offering this extraordinary diesel will perk up the ears of the MINI marketing/engineering executives and prompt them to finally land the MINI D on U.S. shores. Audi/VW TDI engines are very well engineered and have proven their phenomenal capability both on and off track. The V10 TDI once offered in the Touareg was a formidable powerhouse — and something not offered in the Cayenne. Audi has presented a compelling V10 TDI R8 prototype to the world, but not yet chosen to grace its showroom floors with one. Even Bentley (a VW product) was toying with the idea. Clearly, it’s time for MINI to offer a “plain vanilla” diesel in the Cooper and an “uber diesel” in the JCW Cooper S. Of course, the Countryman is crying for an oil burner. Better yet, think about using a Deutz air-cooled diesel. That would certainly “one-up” VW.

    A final thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to see a return to metal fascia/dashboards. Classic “Bugs” and Porsches had them beautifully painted to match the exterior and even embellished with chrome plated glove box doors. Many of the “exotic” Italian marques had tasteful wrinkle finish matte black fascia matching their valve covers. Given current safety regulations and relative cost, we may be doomed to find beauty in foam forevermore. Bentley has managed to exhibit some “heavy metal” with its engine turned accents. Like to see others follow suit. Aside from a few rare examples, it is unlikely that we will ever see cloisonne enamel gracing hood ornaments, name plates, or wheel hubs/hubcaps. Plastic, foam, faux plastic chrome/carbon/wood now make our automotive home more synthetic than ever. 

  • KPH

    I like this much better than the first effort of a NB. Many more design influences from 50 yrs ago in this car. Still, in the flesh is what will make me smile or not. Shouldn’t be too long before that happens.  Vortex is happy with it and to me their project car takes the look back to the earliest days of American hot rodding. Very appealing.

  • SFRed MCc

    The design has beem greatly improved, but the VW Beetle at 168.4-inches long is a much longer car than the MINI Hatch, since it’s almost a foot longer than the Countryman at 156.48-inches.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WBKCAMAJP4GJR2K4NLLUGLZSE4 LilBull

    Front wheel drive with a front engine???? That is where they belong in a Mini/MINI. In the VW Beetle, the drive wheels need to be in the rear, with the engine some where behind the back seat. Until VW gets that part right its just a rebodied Golf. In My Book A Big “FAIL” (Same goes for the Fiat 500)

    • Really?

      I like it. The seats remind my of the excellent ones in the GTI. A “performance” model in 2012? the rest of the world is creating some still competition for Mini.

  • Anonymous

    IMHO did not need to squash the bug.  Just make the Scirocco available state side to re-capture the young male market.

  • http://www.sameday-usa.com/ Sameday Auto Repair

    This model is fresh, clean and classic. VW did a great job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6831677 Denton Gupton

    It’s not the New Beetle, just the Beetle now.  

    • Csmsart

      I have an R56 JCW S & a 2011 GTI APR stage II DSG & enjoy both cars a great deal. Both cars have light weight wheels &  Mich. PS2 tires paired to gain a unsprung rotational rotational weight advantage. Since 2003 I have owned 3 JCW’s & an A3 Audi and a TT (all apr cars.) What I see is VW/Audi coming up from the rear w/ cars that finally match the fun & driver engagement of the Mini lineup but bring an added element of solid build quality, spot on driver ergonomics (MK6 GTI is about as a benchmark in this regard) and potentially thrilling performance. What turns me off a bit is VW’s conservative design aesthetic. I can’t wait until VW throws it considerable energy into matching the exterior gestalt w/ their excellent engineering  skills. As it is to my eyes, the new Beetle is still pudgy & awkward design exercise that needs to go on a diet & ditch the heirloom aesthetics in favor of a fresh look. I wish them the best because I simply love my tuner GTI.


Sort by MINI model

MotoringFile on Instagram








MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

Advertise with MotoringFile

If you or your company are interested in advertising on the most influential MINI website in the world, please visit our Advertising section. If you have further questions about becoming a sponsor or would like to see our rate sheet please feel free to contact us directly.
mini mini
Translate MotoringFile with Google: 
 

BF

MotoringFile Buyers Guides

R50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide

BF

SF



MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


cafepress