Shanghai 2011: new Volkswagen Beetle
Third generation of VW’s long-running bug makes world debut. Now ‘sportier’...
This is the new Volkswagen Beetle, unveiled today at the Shanghai motor show. Yes, new.
The first thing you'll notice is the slightly hotch-potch styling. The third generation of the little bug gets a new face, blending VW's ubiquitous corporate front with the unmistakable grinning eyes of the Beetle on top. Rear three-quarters takes us back to the first-gen model, making it more car-like than its predecessor. And sportier too, apparently.
Volkswagen says the exterior was designed by Marc Lichte, who also did the Scirocco, while underneath sits a Golf: new new Beetle pinches the Golf's platform and engines, right up to a 2.0-litre turbo with 200bhp, top speed 140mph. This frenetic top end in a car never initially designed to do such speed necessitates a self-raising rear spoiler, dontcha' know.
Once you've swallowed the looks, however, it's all top-notch VW inside. The dash combines every-VW-you've-seen together with an upwards-opening glove-box (remember that?) and a Panasonic/Fender hi-fi system. You can even option a triumvirate of gauges previously unheard of for a Beetle: oil temp, boost and stopwatch. Fancy that.
It'll hit UK shores in January 2012 with two engines; a 105bhp and 160bhp TSI (emitting 139g/km of CO2) petrol, while the 200bhp version will land later on next year.