Volkswagen presents new generation Beetle on three continents simultaneously…
Because Volkswagen and the Beetle call the globe their home, the new car is celebrating a transcontinental world debut – simultaneously in Shanghai, Berlin and New York.
A feat which warrants our attention right away on our columns…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
A design challenge...
The task ahead for the engineers was very clear. They had to develop a hightech car that was still affordable, did not leave any stone unturned, integrated the communication technologies of our times and of course achieved the lowest environmental impact. It also had to be a car that places driving fun at the forefront.
The new generation Beetle would have to be a very agile, dynamic performer, and the people who developed the Golf GTI would also be able to achieve this.
No previous Beetle was this fuel efficient.
High performance no longer suffices by itself: At 4.3* l/100 km (European 1.6 TDI) and 33* mpg (American 2.0TDI), the new Beetle is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever.
Design target: “Design a new original!”
Volkswagen Design Chief Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff “understand” both the product and the brand. The team began its task under Bischoff’s guidance.
The challenge of designing a new Beetle was inspiring. The designers knew that they wanted to develop the original Beetle profile more than on the 1998 New Beetle. They also made very dynamic proportions a high priority.
An interesting aspect was that more than a few team members actually own their own air-cooled Beetles. It has also become a cult car among younger designers at Volkswagen. And that is how the final design of the 2011 Beetle came to be inWolfsburg– a car of today as well as a design tribute to the automotive seed of an entire corporate group.
And unmistakable indeed: If one were to take the first Beetle and the new Beetle and place them in a room together – shining light just over the roofs and viewing them from the side – one would see that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical…
A new dynamism…
“The Beetle is now characterised by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front bonnet is longer, the front windscreen is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. All of this creates a new dynamism,” explains Klaus Bischoff.
An original interior like no other
The Beetle’s cockpit, on the other hand, is unique, unmistakable, cool, classic and designed with a passion for detail. This cockpit is perceived as something special.
The shape and use of colour in the painted or carbon-look front facia panel of the dashboard hark back to the design of the first Beetle, yet the new car does not have a retro look.
In Europe, for example, this facia is styled in “Schwarz uni” (Black) on the base model (“Beetle”); in the “Design” equipment line, it is always painted in the specific exterior colour. Customers choosing the “Sport” level get the carbon look (“Carbon Fibre”).
Regardless of which colours are used, Volkswagen drivers will be able to locate every interior feature with their eyes closed.
And yet everything has been redesigned. Three round instruments arranged in front of the driver (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge) provide all key information; integrated in the speedometer (middle position) is a multifunction display.
From the “Design” equipment level, the adjustable air vents and the instruments have chrome bezels.
Comeback of the glovebox
Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward (the standard glovebox that is also integrated opens downward). Another classic feature: the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system: oil temperature, clock with stopwatch function and boost pressure gauge.
The latest Beetle now offers an agile, driver-oriented coupé experience. In front, the Beetle is now somewhat lower in profile, since the domed roof of its predecessor has been eliminated.
It now offers 1,044 mm interior height instead of the previous 1,082 mm. However, the 38 mm will hardly be missed, even by very tall drivers, since the New Beetle’s interior was a “cathedral” among compact cars.
Meanwhile, in the rear seating area, the longer roof section results in a distinctly larger feeling of space. The bootspace is significantly larger; it now holds 310 instead of 209 litres.
Individualising the Beetle
The new Volkswagen will be available worldwide in the three equipment lines “Beetle”, “Design” and “Sport”. Each of these versions has a very unique character.
World engines with 105 PS, 140 PS, 160 PS and 200 PS.
In markets such asAsia,Australia,EuropeandNew Zealand, the new Beetle will be offered exclusively with charged engines. All engine versions – all of them with four cylinders – are being used for the first time in this model series. The car exhibits significantly reduced fuel consumption and emission values compared to the previous model thanks to the switch to turbo-petrol (TSI) and common rail turbodiesel direct injection engines (TDI). The three charged petrol engines of the Beetle output 77 kW/105 PS, 118 kW /160 PS and 147 kW /200 PS. The two diesel engines develop 77 kW /105 PS and 103 kW /140 PS (TDIengines are not offered inChina). All five engines may be combined with a dual clutch transmission as an option.
Even the fast moving 225* km/h Beetle 2.0 TSI with 200 PS of power consumes just 7.4* l/100 km (equivalent to 173* g/km CO2) with a manual transmission.
Also extremely economical is the 1.4 TSI with 160 PS shifted by a 7-speed DSG; in the Beetle it consumes just 5.9* l/100 km (139* g/km CO2). Fuel economy data like this makes the Beetle 1.4 TSI DSG (top speed: 207* km/h) a pleasant surprise in the engine programme.
By comparison, the previous model with 110 kW/150 PS attained a value of 8.9 l/100 km in the automatic version. Despite 10 PS more power, fuel consumption was reduced by 3.0* /100 km or 34* percent.
The most fuel-efficient petrol engined model is the Beetle 1.2 TSI with BlueMotion technology (including Stop/Start system and battery regeneration) and 105 PS with a top speed of 180* km/h. It has a combined fuel consumption of 5.5* l/100 km (129* g/km CO2).
An extremely sustainable performer is the Beetle 1.6TDIwith 105 PS. At 4.3* l/100 km (equivalent to 112* g/km CO2), this diesel version is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever built with BlueMotion Technology.
More details of the new Beetle will follow soon, suffice to say here that is has everything to go on for ever and ever…
Hans Knol ten Bensel