Beetle Design 1.2 TSI DSG
Beetle always reminds me of
a line from the cult movie Joes
been here for
a hundred million years and well
here long after you!
seems to have been around
just gone though
AND EVERY TIME IT GETS BETTER. Like Elvis, this Sixties icon still commands
attention, especially now it's substantially longer, wider and lower and has
been stylishly redefined with a longer bonnet, swept-back windscreen and a flatter
roofline. Although it's a three-door hatchback, it has more of a coupe look
All but the hippy-era romantics will be glad of a singular deletion
the flower vase on the dash (although admittedly it did make a handy pen-holder).
But its departure is indicative of the new cabin's more driver-oriented theme.
Cheeky, too, is the way a 60's Beetle feature has been neatly integrated into
the 21st century fascia:
attractive body-coloured fascia, door panels and steering wheel inserts now
add a liberal splash of pizzazz.
successfully mixing vintage and hi-tech is the 400-watt Fender sound pack that
comes with eight speakers, subwoofer and switchable three-colour ambient illumination
for the front door speaker housings
the white Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock in 1969 never sounded
mixing vintage and hi-
tech is the 400-watt
Fender sound pack
the white Stratocaster
Jimi Hendrix played
at Woodstock in 1969
Naturally this latest Beetle comes fitted out with all the essential kit including
electric windows (one-shot up and down), height-adjustable seats (not just for
the driver but the front passenger too), 6.5-inch colour touchscreen audio unit
with digital radio, 6CD autochanger, SD card slot and sockets for connecting
to external multimedia sources.
And there's more: heat insulating tinted glass, heated power mirrors, semi-automatic
AirCon (that takes very good care of all your heating and cooling demands),
multifunction leather-wrapped flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel (with
a lovely to use leather rim), and a multifunction driver's information display
incorporated into the speedometer.
Driver information is beautifully presented with crisp instrumentation, and
attention to detail throughout the cabin is first class. The driver can pick
from a varied menu as to what information he wants to see on the driver's display:
digital speed (our default choice because it's less distracting in these days
of speed camera overkill), range, plus the usual trip data, etc.
There are also plenty of cubbies including
a nod to the original Beetle here
an extra glovebox set in the upper fascia above the main glovebox; useful, and
its upward opening lid doesn't clash with the downward opening main glovebox.
Handy too is the deep rubberised open tray top-centre on the dashboard and the
large drop-down drawer to the right of the wheel. The overhead sunglasses holder
is another often overlooked essential.
Desirable extras fitted on our test car included cruise control (£235), front
and rear parking sensors (£335), Fender sound pack (£495), and the gorgeous
Denim Blue special paint finish
well worth the extra £250.
can be taken for granted thanks to a top five-star Euro NCAP rating, tyre pressure
monitoring, a traction and stability control system, WOKS (VW's whiplash-optimised
head restraint system), and a full set of airbags. And should you decide to
check out the engine, there's a neat safety feature that you should be aware
the bonnet can't be opened with the door closed. Clever when you think about
During our test
we were called on to
move a mix of household
items including a
washing machine and
large bookcase the
Beetle swallowed them
all without any fuss...
hill hold function adds to the ease of driving, automatically holding the car
when stopping for short periods in stop-start traffic as well as on any incline.
The seats are upholstered in a smart black cloth (with '3D' patterned centre
panels) that's user-friendly for each of the four seasons.
They're also large and supportive, and getting to the back pair is no problem
thanks to both the easy-entry sliding front seats (that work without a hitch)
and the long side doors. The frameless front windows also come in useful if
you need to get in or out in very tight spots.
A handy height-adjustable armrest separates the two front seats; thankfully
it doesn't cramp the smooth-operating traditional handbrake, as many do. Plus
the outer armrests are cloth-covered and very usable. And there's plenty, no,
make that masses, of room in all directions for real-world adult bodies.
Those travelling in the back seats are far more comfortable than in previous
Beetle models, with decent shoulder room and ample space for feet and knees.
Plus you can rest your head on the headrest without touching the headlining.
And despite the tapering rear windows, it's agreeably airy travelling in the
A nice touch worth mentioning is the sliding easy-entry feature on the front
even when the car is facing uphill and you're getting in or out, the front seat
won't slip back but stays in position until you release it.
boot is deep and it's also bigger
you now have 310 litres for bags and stuff. Fold the 50:50 split rear backrests
down and this goes up to 905 litres. The tailgate opening is large, loading
is painless, and the rigid rear parcel shelf-cum-luggage cover is easily removed
and just as easily stowed on the boot floor. During
our test we were called on to move a mix of household items including a washing
machine and large bookcase
and the Beetle swallowed them all without any fuss.
In the past, the Beetle
was more about being
Herbie; more love bug.
Todays Beetle is
far more sophisticated
and certainly far more
its now about
injecting driving pleasure
into your life...
front-engined powerplant drives the front wheels and can be either a 1.2 or
a 1.4-litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine. The 1.4 is mated to a six-speed
manual 'box; the 1.2, as tested here, comes fitted as standard with a seven-speed
seven speeds aren't there just for some mechanical one-upmanship: seven gears
allows for a lower first to improve acceleration from standstill, while the
seventh acts as an overdrive to improve motorway economy and comfort levels.
the record, other engines available in the UK introduced since our test drive
are 1.6 (103bhp) and 2.0 (138bhp) TDI diesels, and a 197bhp 2.0 TSI petrol that's
good for 140mph and 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds.
Back to the 1.2 TSI: it's performance is feisty (it feels more like a 1.5-litre
lump) thanks to 103bhp and 129lb ft
sufficient to get you to the benchmark 62mph in 10.9 seconds before pushing
nonchalantly on to its 111mph top speed.
I say 'nonchalantly' because it doesn't mind which end of the rev band it spins
low down it punches easily above its size; mid-range there's more than enough
for clean overtaking or some back-road high jinks; and
cruising at 70-80mph is unruffled and relaxing.
major benefit of VW's DSG gearbox is that going 'two-pedals' doesn't harm the
driveability, the economy or the environment: tailpipe emissions are 137g/km
and the official combined cycle figure is 47.9mpg. A week's hard
driving saw 43.3mpg recorded by us. Pretty good for just 1,197cc hauling around
a 1,297kg body.
the past, the Beetle was more about being Herbie; more 'love bug'. Today's Beetle
is far more sophisticated and certainly far more driver-focused
it's about injecting driving pleasure into your life. Don't worry; the charm's
The Beetle tackled
our secret serpentine test
route with gusto and
we came out the other
Handling-wise this new Beetle has an ace up its sleeve
or should I say under its bodyshell. The ace is spelt G-O-L-F because there's
a lot of it underpinning this Beetle. No big surprise then that its road manners
are good as well as reassuring. It's no out-and-out hot hatch but you can certainly
have some serious fun.
In Design spec it's fairly firmly sprung but not so much as to spoil the ride
(Sport trim cars have much stiffer suspension and come with low-pro-wrapped
18-inch wheels). Rolling on 17-inch 215/55 profile rubber keeps the Design Beetle
civilised. Not only that, but the standard white-painted alloys, with their
chromed rims and hub caps, look fab.
a deliciously serpentine long hill section on a road less travelled (by most)
somewhere between Sevenoaks and the old Hog's Back that's part of MotorBar's
secret test route
with the DSG selector in Sport mode, the Beetle tackled it with gusto and we
came out the other end smiling. And that should tell you everything you need
to know about the handling dynamics.
Still turning heads, still making friends, still the Auto für Jedermann
(car for everybody), the Beetle will still be here long after you.
Volkswagen Beetle Design 1.2 TSI DSG | £18,900
Maximum speed: 111mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 43.3mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 129lb ft | CO2 137g/km