The icon is back, they say. After much pre-launch teasing (readers of this site would have seen an ad on oto.my, cute videos, details from VW’s business plan and wrapped units at a dealership), the all-new Volkswagen Beetle has been officially launched at Volkswagen’s Das Auto show 2012 at the KL Convention Centre.
The original VW Beetle is well, the original; the round baby from 1997 was called “New Beetle” and this one is just called “The Beetle”. It made its debut at Auto Shanghai and the New York Auto Show last year as a 2012 model.
Sitting on Volkswagen’s PQ35 platorm for compact cars – the A5 also underpins the Golf Mk5/Mk6, Scirocco, EOS, Jetta, Touran, Tiguan and Mk2 Audi TT/A3, among other models – the new bug takes on a new shape that’s more true to the original silhouette than the New Beetle. Less feminine, too. You don’t need a side-by-side for this – it’s that obvious.
While the New Beetle’s shape was dominated by three perfect domes (wheelarches and cab right smack in the middle), the new car’s cab has been moved back and flattened at the top, so there’s now a more upright small windscreen before the roofline gently tapers down. The lines of the rear sections are nearly identical to the original Bug’s.
Another nod to the original is the body coloured dashboard, which also has an integrated extra glove box on the passenger side that some call “Beetle Box.”
Dimensions confirm the observation. The new bug is longer 4,278 mm long, 1,808 mm wide and 1,486 mm tall, which makes it a substantial 152 mm longer, 84 mm wider and 12 mm lower than the New Beetle. The new car’s track widths and wheelbase are also up, the latter by 22 mm.
The more dynamic profile comes with a bigger boot as well – at 310 litres, it’s 101 more than before. If one folds down the rear seats, cargo volume expands to 951 litres.
The Beetle is being launched in Malaysia as a 1.2 TSI at this point. The 1.2L turbo engine is the same one found in the Polo hatchback, making 105 PS and 175 Nm of torque from 1,550 to 4,100 rpm. Paired to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, it propels the Beetle from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.9 seconds, while top speed is 180 km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 5.9 litres per 100 km.
The suspension setup consists of front McPherson struts and a torsion beam at the back. Our Beetle 1.2 TSI will be equipped with the mid-range “Design Line” with 16-inch Whirl alloy wheels and 215/60 tyres.
Kit includes Vienna leather upholstery, a RCD 510 touchscreen six-CD changer/eight-speaker audio system and cruise control. The car’s dashboard relief pad and door panels, as well as the steering wheel inserts, are matched to the choice of body colour.
Safety equipment includes combined side and thorax airbags for the front passengers on top of the dual front airbags, ABS with brake assist, ESP and hill-hold control.
By the way, the yellow car you see in these pics (the one with the bigger wheels) is the range topping 2.0 TSI variant (200 PS, 280 Nm, six-speed DSG) that will be introduced later, although VW isn’t saying when, and how much.
The 2.0 TSI is also differentiated by a number of items – aside from a XDS electronic differential lock, it’ll have bi-xenons, an electric panoramic tilt/slide sunroof, sport suspension, rear spoiler, aluminium pedals and twin tailpipes.
The dashboard pad is also a fixed shade (dressed in a carbon look), irrespective of the exterior colour, and the side mirror housings are finished in black. It also wears 18-inch Twister wheels wrapped in 235/45 rubbers.
“The Beetle was first seen on Malaysian roads back in the 50s and it soon became a popular choice among households. Malaysia and the Beetle have evolved together. The car is still a favourite among classic car enthusiasts and Beetle fans in the country,” said Ricky Tay, MD of Volkswagen Group Malaysia.
“The last few months have seen us speak to numerous followers of the brand and the car, and we know that the Beetle is still a favourite among people. It is a car that trancends gender, class and background to become a favourite among people, thanks to its timeless shape and consistently evolving technology. The Beetle is truly the people’s car,” he added.
Available in seven colours – Candy White, Tornado Red, Saturn Yellow, Reflex Silver, Deep Black, Platinum Grey, Graciosa Brown – the Beetle 1.2 TSI is priced from RM139,888. This bug is a CBU import from Mexico, and demand is outstripping supply at the moment.
Update: Story updated with further details, and gallery of live photos uploaded.