[Test Drive Review]- The New Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI [DSG]

A few weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to test drive the new Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI [DSG] and we had an enjoyable driving experience that was unlike any other cars that we drove so far. Since 1938, the Volkswagen Beetle has always had the most recognisable automotive design in the world and it is a design that still continues to win over the hearts of people of all generations. Just so you know, there are 3 generations of Volkswagen Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetle 1st Generation

The original Beetle is one of the three most successful cars ever, with 21.5 million first generation units sold and over the years, it has shaped people’s collective consciousness. The original Beetle wrote history as the car that moved the masses.

Volkswagen New Beetle 2nd Generation [based on the Golf IV's PQ34 platform]

Then the New Beetle debuted in the late 1990s. It brought with it Beetle Mania and a new automotive exuberance. The New Beetle offered a certain lifestyle, and it sold over one million units, alongside the Golf.

Volkswagen New Beetle 3rd Generation [based on the Jetta’s PQ35 platform]

The 21st Century Beetle is the successor of the Volkswagen Beetle icon in the new era and if one were to compare the first Beetle with the latest Beetle and place them side by side, one would see that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical.

Exterior Design

The latest generation of Beetle is bolder, more dynamic, and definitely more masculine. Characterised by a clean, self-confident, and dominant sportiness; the car not only has a lower profile but is also substantially wider. The gain in length means that the roof could be extended further, the front windscreen could be shifted back, and the rear section could follow the contour of the original Beetle. All of these gives the Beetle a powerful appearance with muscular tension.

Despite all of its individuality, some of the Beetle’s longstanding characteristics remain; these include its flared wings and the clean design of its rear lights, the shape of the bonnet, the side and door sills and its ability to integrate large wheels of up to 18 inch.

In the space where the original Beetle once had its engine, there is now a bootlid on the Beetle, which swivels upward together with the rear windscreen when it is opened, making space to provide an ample cargo capacity of 310 to 905 litres.

As on all Volkswagens, the rear lamps exhibit an unmistakable night look. And as on every Beetle and New Beetle, their basic shapes are integrated in the design of the flared rear wings. The lights themselves are fully designed in dark red, except for 2 small white areas for the turn indicator and backup lights.

Interior Design

A distinguishing feature of the contemporary Beetle is that its interior ergonomics and packaging are based on completely new parameters. While drivers in the air-cooled Beetle travelled in a very low-slung seat, and drivers of the New Beetle could feel as if they were being chauffeured because of the bonnet that was so far forward, the latest Beetle now offers a driving experience that is a lot sportier.

Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox [Beetle box] integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward. Another classic feature is the optional auxiliary instruments above the audio/navigation system and it displays the oil temperature, the clock with chronometer function, and boost pressure gauge.

Drivers will be able to find any of the interior details with their eyes closed. This means not only current Volkswagen owners but any drivers. And yet everything has been redesigned or rearranged. In front of the driver, 3 round instruments [the tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge] supply all of the key information. In the central speedometer there is a multifunction display.

The adjustable air vents and instruments have chrome bezels.

The New Beetle has a completely redesigned seating system, which makes a substantial contribution towards the car’s high level of comfort and unlimited touring ability. The boot now has a significantly larger capacity at 310 litres instead of 209 litres. When the standard split rear bench is folded down, cargo capacity even increases to 905 litres; and it is easy to load through the wide opening boot lid. This means that nothing aboard the Beetle keeps it from handling a long road trip. Incidentally, practical bag hooks in the walls of the boot help in both small and large everyday cargo transport tasks.

As standard, the Beetle has a very good audio system, the RCD 310 with 8 loudspeakers [4 tweeters and 4 woofers] and dual tuners.

Driving Performance

The 21st Century Beetle debuts with a suitably modern engine with direct fuel injection and turbocharging. The 1.2 TSI follows the downsizing philosophy of Volkswagen’s globally successful TSI engines and what this means is maximum power with minimum fuel consumption. The New Beetle 1.2 TSI reaches 100 km/h from a standstill after just 10.9 seconds, and if necessary it can accelerate to 180 km/h. This performance data sits in sharp contrast to its very low fuel consumption and emissions values of 5.9 L/100 km and 137 g/km CO2.

The DSG transmission is characterised by maximum economy and shifting dynamics, which have never been attained to this extent before. Even the most experienced professional drivers do not shift at nearly the speed of the DSG. More than any other automatic, the dual clutch gearbox has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and thereby emissions. Compared to a conventional automatic with torque-converter clutch, fuel efficiency gains may be as much as 20 percent.

The New Beetle is equipped with a standard ESP electronic stabilisation programme.

When it comes to the layout of the car’s running gear, Volkswagen has implemented a MacPherson-type strut suspension at the front with helical springs and telescoping dampers. At the rear, a newly developed suspension in lightweight construction supports the Beetle’s very good handling properties. In addition, the running gear also offers excellent driving stability when the car is fully loaded. Fitting into this picture is the very smooth yet precise operation of the electromechanical power steering.

In terms of safety, the New Beetle has achieved the maximum 5-star safety score from Euro NCAP.

Our Personal Opinion of the New Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI [DSG]

Over the years, the various generations of the Beetle reflected what is certainly the most recognisable. However, I have to admit that I was never a fan of the Volkswagen Beetle [2nd Generation] because I felt that the car was extremely girly and soft. In fact, the Volkswagen Beetle [2nd Generation] was often touted as a car for the ladies.

Having drove the New Volkswagen Beetle [3rd Generation], I am fully convinced that this car is going to be my dream hatchback car [I’m sorry MINI Cooper]. With a design that expresses power instead of flower power, the New Volkswagen Beetle offers a very sporty drive and I really love it because it is very fuel-efficient. I would personally like it more if the New Volkswagen Beetle has a manual variant.

With a turbocharged engine, picking up speed is also a breeze for the New Volkswagen Beetle [considering the fact that it is a small car with a small engine capacity] and even when going over humps, the suspension of the car is very sturdy. If you're the "need for speed" sort of driver, you might want to consider the New Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI version instead of the 1.2 TSI version.

Although the New Volkswagen Beetle boasts a huge boot space that can contain big luggage, I personally feel that the rear passengers [especially those who are pretty tall] will have a less comfortable journey on the road as the gap between the head and the car roof is pretty small. The other negative point about the New Volkswagen Beetle is that I found it pretty hard to gauge the front of the car especially when turning or cornering; which by the way, is a puzzle to me because I had no issues gauging the front of the car with much bigger vehicles like the Volkswagen Caddy Panel Van.

If you are looking for a car that shows emotion, offers dynamic performance, and yet a classic, you might want to consider the New Volkswagen Beetle. It is probably the car for the young urban professionals [yuppies]. The car’s styling, ergonomics, operability and quality interact to create a new and friendly car with a highly individual nature.

While planning for our wedding that is going to be taking place in less than 2 months’ time, both Jacqueline and I are faced with a tough decision over what wedding car to use. Many family members and friends suggested a luxury sedan while there were many others that suggested a luxury sports car. Though we have not fully decided over which car to choose yet, we hope to share more details soon.

For more information about the New Volkswagen Beetle, do check out Volkswagen Official Website and like Volkswagen Official Facebook Page!

Alternatively, you could also arrange for a test-drive at the Volkswagen Car Showroom at 247 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159934. The Volkswagen Car Showroom operating hours are Monday to Saturday- 8:30am to 7:00pm and Sundays & Public Holidays- 10:00am to 7:00pm.