Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line

2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Reflex Metallic

The VW Beetle’s familiar shape has been around for decades. It is an iconic car that is instantly recognized, no matter if it’s the old-school Herbie the Love Bug runabout or the aggressively-styled larger version of today. I drove VW’s latest Bug, the 2014 Beetle R-Line Turbo. And what exactly is an R-Line? It's VW's Beetle Turbo with a new name.

2.0-liter VW TSI engine
This isn't the Beetle with the smallish, low-powered, engine, or a not-so-loaded bug. This is the Reflex Metallic Beetle equipped with a 2.0-liter TSI engine making a healthy 207 ft/lbs of torque and 210 horsepower. Those are fully grown stallion horses, not just your everyday youngin’ ponies we are talking about. Along with this sporty turbocharged direct-injection engine, this bug has a host of performance and safety features such as a sport suspension, dual-clutch transmission, all those necessary three-letter safety acronyms (ABS, EBD, ASR, ESC, and so on), as well as eye-catching 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in performance all-season tires.

This vehicle is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, but they certainly didn’t put you through the windshield, so to speak; I had hoped for more engagement. But where the brakes were lacking, the power was not. The 210 horsepower engine bolted to the 6-speed DSG transmission engine had quick responses, a good note to it, and had beautifully-designed paddle shifters for when you wanted to engage the engine in a “show-me-who-is-boss” manner.

On the highway this bug was comfortable, had a ton of accouterments to use (Fender audio, navigation, a host of other infotainment and menu systems), and felt lovely as I cruised along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. Slight wind noise was present with the power moonroof and windows closed but who cares if you are driving it during a 75 degree sunny day? Imagine the windows and moonroof open, the premium Fender stereo blaring, and you rocking out to your favorite tunes—get the picture? It was a fun drive. So, it was great on the highway but, how did it do in the city?

City driving was fun and sassy. Cornering was sticky but you felt the car’s weight in sorts—all 3,104 lbs. of it—but it was still enjoyable. I am used to extreme grippage from our WRX and lowered Yaris, but feel its handling would certainly suffice for most enthusiasts.

VW Beetle R-Line door with Fender audio speaker
This R-Line has a great engine note, a power moonroof, and luxury niceties such as a touchscreen navi system, media device interface, Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats and exterior mirrors (which were not needed during our beautiful fall week), leather just-about-everything, and power windows with pinch protection. Even though this current generation is larger than its predecessors, it is still easy to park, merge, and is happy in a downtown atmosphere. A few things to note, however: The C-pillar is quite large and makes for an interesting quandary when maneuvering around town quickly. Be sure to delegate your short friends to the rear seats, too, as headroom is still a bit of a challenge. Myself? I am vertically challenged, so I fit into the back seat just fine.

The rest of the interior is nice and tight. Classic German styling and attention to detail is evident. Multi-color leather, high-gloss finishes next to matte black accents, and touches of silver. All of this makes for a timeless look. Some items I pondered upon: Would the high gloss black accent strip along the top of the doors scratch or get screamin’ hot to the touch? Would they constantly be dusty and dirty with fingerprints and drive me crazy? Most likely yes, but if that is something you can look beyond, this may be the bug for your boo. Or even for you, for that matter.

With an estimated 24 city and 30 highway, this turbo trekker will set you back $32,215 (which includes $820 in destination charges). This is a bit more than its competitors and several more grand than our 2013 Subaru WRX hatchback was. But, if you are looking for the extra add-ons such as leather, touchscreen with navigation, Fender audio system, and xenon headlights (with LED running lights)—this may be your ride.

2014 VW Beetle R-Line back

The Beetle comes with a 3 year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, and a 5 year, 60,000 limited powertrain warranty. It also comes with 3 year, 36,000 24-hour roadside assistance. Nice feature if you do end up stranded up somewhere.

The R-Line turbo is the performance version of VW’s Beetle. R stands for rad, real, and ready to roll. Don't forget about VW's GTI, however, if you're not into the Beetle's styling.

2014 VW Beetle R-Line Badge

2014 VW Beetle R-Line Back Seat

Beetle Cargo Area

2014 VW Beetle R-Line 19-inch wheel

2014 Beetle Headlight

1 comment:

rubicon4wheeler said...

That's funny - in one of the pictures you can see that there's a purse where the engine should be!