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VW's Beetle gets its first major update in over a decade

When you think of Volkswagen's current Beetle, chick car is often the first thing that comes to mind. Volkswagen didn't do much to dispel that status when it gave a sneak peek at its third generation Beetle on Oprah Winfrey's talk show late last year (Volkswagen also at the time announced that it would be donating 275 2012 Beetles to the Oprah audience). 

Since November, we've only seen a silhouette shot of the 2012 Beetle along with a pretty interesting Super Bowl commercial that teased the vehicle. Now, Motor Trend has broken the 8AM embargo on the '12 Beetle announcement and posted pictures and information on the vehicle.

The '12 Beetle is clearly an evolution of the current model that burst onto the scene the United States in 1998. The roofline is less circular and carries on a more "chopped top" look first seen on the New Beetle Ragster concept in 2005 (the roof is lower by half an inch). The front of the '12 Beetle carries on with the familiar large "eyes", while the lower grille is more in keeping with more conservative models in the Volkswagen lineup like the '11 Jetta and the '12 Passat.

Overall width is up 3 inches on the new model while the overall length has been stretched by six inches. Cargo capacity has also been boosted, and now sits at 10.9 cubic feet. 

The engine lineup for the '12 Beetle should be instantly familiar to anyone that keeps up with the automotive world. The standard engine will be the 2.5-liter inline-5 that generates 170 hp and EPA ratings of 22/31. Two optional engines are available: the 2.0T which generates 200 hp and returns 30 mpg on the highway and the 2.0-liter TDI which delivers 140 hp, 236 lb-ft of torque, and EPA ratings of 29/40.

Pricing is not yet available for Volkswagen's latest chick car Beetle, but we'll be sure to keep you updated as information becomes available.

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RE: Poor Engine Choices
By Keeir on 4/18/2011 8:27:15 PM , Rating: 2

Your Nissan 2.0L gets such good mileage not because of the engine... but likely due to the CVT transmission.

In fact, the 6-speed Manual Transmission (on the Nissan 2.0L) is rated at just 24/31, or in other words, just barely better than the Beetle.

Throw in the Aerodynamic, Tire, and Wieght differences, and I doubt your Nissan 2.0L engine is significantly more efficient that the 2.5L VW engine (though by virtue for 4 versus 5, it will be slightly better in idle).

RE: Poor Engine Choices
By Jeffk464 on 4/18/2011 9:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
All the new nissans that come with a 2.0L have solid rear ends.

RE: Poor Engine Choices
By Egglick on 4/19/2011 3:05:14 AM , Rating: 2
I'm well aware of what the CVT does for the Nissan's mileage, and the fact that it came standard factored heavily into my decision. Many other car makers don't need a special transmission though, and honestly, whether the mileage improvement comes from the tranny or the engine doesn't make a whole lot of difference. The fact is, they had a desire to improve their fuel economy, and they took steps to do so.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. It's my opinion that 22/31 isn't anywhere near good enough for a tiny little car like this in 2012. If a 2.5L inline-5 making 170HP is their best option, then so be it. I'm not knocking the engine, just the application.

On the other hand, Volkswagen ought to be completely embarrassed of a 2.0L making only 115hp and worse than 22/31. That sounds like something from the early 1980's. I would quietly sweep that engine under the carpet and never talk about it again. I'd be interested to see what they're offering in Europe, because they've got to have something else.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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