Volkswagen has just unveiled the latest generation Beetle in Shanghai, marking a new era in this iconic car’s history. Due in Ireland early next year, the latest generation moves away from design of the New Beetle of 1998 and instead draws on cues from the original and Beetle Ragster concept shown in Detroit in 2005. As such it’s longer, wider, and lower, giving a more masculine and dynamic appearance.
The track width front and rear, as well as the wheelbase at 2,537 mm, are also increased. The car’s new proportions mean the roof extends back further, the windscreen is shifted back and the rear section is now more akin to that of the original Beetle. The boot capacity is a practical 310 litres, up from 209 litres in the 1998 model. The Beetle has four seats, with a split-fold rear seat for added versatility.
Inside the cabin, the Beetle’s designers created a modern, practical, and distinctive appearance with easy to identify and ergonomic controls. Certain features, such as the glovebox and colour accent panels hark back to the original.
Internationally, three trim levels will be available - Beetle, Design, and Sport - and Volkswagen say that each will be endowed with its own individual character and features. A wide range of innovative optional equipment will also be available, ranging from Keyless Access through satellite navigation systems and a panoramic sunroof to bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights - all of which are available for the first time on a Beetle.
In Ireland, we could see a choice of as many four engines offered but the line-up has not yet been decided. The choice will include some or all of the following: three petrol units - a 1.2-litre TSI 105 bhp, a 1.4-litre TSI 160 bhp, and a 2.0-litre TSI 200 bhp; as well as one diesel - a 1.6-litre 105 bhp with BlueMotion Technology.
Thanks to the addition of stop/ start and battery regeneration systems the Beetle 1.6-litre 105 bhp is estimated to have a combined fuel consumption of 65.7 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 112 g/km.
Volkswagen says that as well as being economical and environmentally sound, the Beetle is also built to be one of the safest cars on the road thanks not only to features such as standard ESP and six airbags but also a laser-welded and galvanised body structure which has one of the highest torsional rigidity values in the segment.
In addition the range-topping engine, the 2.0-litre 200 bhp, will feature standard XDS electronic differential lock as fitted to the Golf GTI.
When the original was launched in 1938, it was known simply as the Volkswagen, quickly acquiring a raft of nicknames from across the world. Whatever the name, its popularity is not in question, with 21.5 million sold in the past 73 years. I will bring more details when they become available closer to the Irish launch.