Volkswagen Beetle

The iconic car that keeps Volkswagen cool!

"More than 21 million Beetles have been manufactured since the original design in the 1930s"

"The engine is now water-cooled and popped in front"

"When I stepped in behind the wheel, I felt that I had entered into a great historical tradition" said Issam

"Volkswagen Beetle's exterior is immediately identifiable"

If I start telling my own story about the "Love Bug", it will never end. I reckon my first article, almost ten years ago, started my whole career at the magazine. Last year, I drove the new Beetle from San Francisco to Los Angeles and believe it or not, it was off the hook!

It was now time to lay my hands upon a most iconic car that gives VW a cool and young image; this time with local flavor driving around Dubai's highways and streets. The car's fame has been magnified on the silver screen in classic movies, but now the bolder, more dynamic and more masculine Beetle is seen abundantly on the roads of the UAE.

More than 21 million Beetles have been manufactured since the original design in the 1930s, so it is no understatement to say that the model is one of the most successful in the international automotive industry. The Beetle is a reinterpretation of the original design, which made its debut over seven decades ago and offers a distinctive bold, dynamic and masculine look with a powerful new engine.

What's new on the Beetle and what are the Middle East offerings?
In the Middle East the Beetle is available in three exciting configurations: S, SE and SEL. In homage to its heritage, many of the classic Beetle characteristics have been incorporated, including its round headlights, flared wings, bonnet shape, sides and door sills and large wheels (up to 19 inch). However, the new Beetle offers entirely new proportions to its predecessor - 1,808 mm wide (84 mm wider), 1,486 mm tall (12 mm lower) and 4,278 mm long (152 mm longer) - that gives it a powerful appearance with muscular tension.

With a starting price of only USD 27,196, the new Beetle will be available in a range of styles and colors: solid, metallic, pearl and two tone sunroof (with black ceiling) shades and a range of special colors including denim blue, Saturn yellow and tornado red.

The Beetle S is the entry level model and features a multi-function leather wrapped steering wheel; Fender Audio System and eight speakers (including dual tuner); an automatic air condition "Climatronic" with dual zone climate control, which can be separately controlled and parking distance control that provides acoustic warning signals at the front and rear of the vehicle.

The mid entry model, the Beetle SE, has a number of distinguishing features including 18 inch alloy "Twister" wheels; a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel with gear shift; a transparent tilt/slide sunroof, which is 80 percent larger (glass surface area) than its predecessor and insulates 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy; bi-xenon headlights including 15 LEDs frame the xenon module on the outer perimeters of the headlights.

The top line model, Beetle SEL, offers the features of the S and SEL models but comes with 19 inch alloy "Tornado" wheels; a keyless locking and starting system and the leading radio navigation system - the RNS 510 and the seat centers and inner sides of side bolsters areĀ  wrapped in "Vienna" leather. It also offers additional refinements including a 6.5 inch touchscreen, DVD player, voice control, SD card slot, 30 Gigabyte hard drive and a mobile device interface with iPod/iPhone adapter cable.

Drivetrain
The new model is a step-change from its predecessor with a powerful new engine; the Beetle enjoys 210HP from a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, a 6 speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) and a top speed of 227 kph.

Driving Impressions
The Beetle handles some properly aggressive driving, but it has its limitations in the twisted maneuvers. In sporty handling the Beetle stiffer suspension, and multi-link rear suspension help it cuddle the road better and swap more keenly through turns. It is charming, soft, comfortable, economical and fast enough to tide with traffic. Instrumentation and controls are attractively simple to use. Rear legroom is tight, but access is somehow easy. The hatchback and fold-down rear seats create huge cargo space.

Verdict
With its modern, sporty features, the Beetle was, is and will always be a big hit in our region. It offers something for everyone who likes its retro-cool styling. The new generation Beetle is available at local dealerships and in Volkswagen dealers across the region - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Pros: modern classic Beetle lines, vintage touches available, R-Line package
Cons: no exhaust sound inside the cabin, minor turbo delay, small back seat
Rivals: MINI Cooper S Hardtop, Fiat 500 Abarth, Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Specs

2.0l TSI (turbo stratified injection), four cylinder, 210HP, 280Nm
6 speed DSG, FWD
Top speed: 227kph, 0-100 kph: 7.3 sec, fuel consumption: 7.6l/100km
Weight: 1386 kg
One word: cool
4 stars

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