|The Beetle's new design is sharp, clean, and slightly more sporty and masculine. Photo by Curtis Reesor.|
Everyone we showed the Beetle to thought VW did a great job redesigning it. Even the manliest of men said it looked less like a “chick car.” Another universal comment I got was that it looked like it had a few drops of Porsche DNA. (My stepmom said she thought it looked like a Porsche that ate too much.) I agree on all accounts. The car rides on big 19” wheels wrapped in wide 235/40/19 tires, and has an aggressive, slightly raked stance. A few other agreeable exterior touches include the rear spoiler, the VW emblem that doubles as a hatch release, and fog lights.
Refreshing a retro-inspired design is no light task. You have to make something look new while still retaining the original “old” look, so kudos to Volkswagen for pulling it off. This Beetle Turbo definitely has an edge to it that the last Beetle didn’t have. No need to hand in your man cards at the door fellas—there’s no bud vase, and there’s plenty of turbo boost on this bug.
|The Beetle Turbo's interior is a standout in terms of design. The Fender stereo is one of the best on the market.|
It would be a great injustice not to point out the Beetle Turbo’s audio system, which is by Fender. Yes, that Fender—the legendary guitar/amplifier company. I think this has to be the best factory car audio system I’ve heard to date. No matter how loud, no matter what music genre, the stereo kept it pumpin’. Crisp highs, deep lows, and ear-ringing volume were all possible. Phenomenal. My only complaint is the touch-screen head unit is somewhat cumbersome to use. Another infotainment highlight, however, was the navigation setting, which was also the best I’ve used to date. Simple, clear, and straightforward, the navi unit repeatedly got us from door to door without incident.
The interior is not without fault, however. Mercedes and I thought much of the shiny black plastic parts, which looked great, would likely end up scratched over time. Plus, that black plastic finish was found on the tops of the doors by the windows; we thought that on hot, sunny days, that black area might get über hot (think scorched arm). Also, some of the interior hardware felt flimsy, such as climate control knobs and glovebox handle. Additionally, the driver’s window has some funkification; when raising the window, it’d randomly stop in the middle and go back down. Finally, the power sunroof opens up less than 9”, even though nearly the entire roof is glass. Really? It seems hardly worth opening as it didn’t provide much air circulation. Cool as a glass roof? Yes. Good as a sun roof? Not so much.
|The Beetle Turbo has plenty of get-up-and-go, and it handles well, and rides confidently. Photo by Curtis Reesor|
In the handling department, the Beetle is quite competent thanks in part to those aforementioned 19” wheels and tires. When pushed, however, the car does tend to lean and feel softer than was expected. Highway ride is very good; this is where you feel as if the car was tuned to do 120 MPH on the autobahn. It feels rock solid at speed, which is confidence inspiring. Stopping is handled by four-wheel disc brakes with good feel.
|The Beetle Turbo's back end looks great, especially with the dual exhaust outlets and spoiler. Photo by Curtis Reesor|