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Volkswagen Beetle

A BUG'S LIFE (some text hidden)

By Andy Enright

Can Volkswagen's third generation Beetle be more than just a lifestyle statement? Jonathan Crouch reports on the improved version.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 86

Volkswagen's third generation Beetle has proved to be a classier and more mature car than its predecessor, qualities the Wolfsburg brand has tried to enhance with the latest round of changes. These create a slightly smarter look, with extra value added to specifications, plus there's the option of a more Crossover-style 'Dune' derivative. Importantly for its target market amongst retro rivals, this car remains a very style-conscious choice, whether you go for it in Coupe or Cabriolet guises. Aesthetics matter. Go on. Live a beautiful life.

Backgroundword count: 218

So to the Volkswagen Beetle. You'll probably remember that this car was re-launched in modern era guise at the turn of the century and following on from that, over a million new era examples were sold over thirteen years. Despite that, the second generation version of this car was never quite the success it might have been. The curvy Toytown looks and touches like the flower vase on the dash left it as an exclusively feminine and fashion-centric choice, buyers who quickly forsook its charms when at the turn of the century the New MINI and much later, the reinvented Fiat 500 came along. Hence the need for the all-new third generation Beetle that was introduced in 2012, the car we're going to look at in improved form here. This was a model with wider appeal and one much closer to the feel of the original post-war design. Longer, wider and lower than its MK2 predecessor, it was intended to look more sporty, masculine and dynamic and did. Plus, because the Golf underpinnings remained, the MK3 Beetle could be a more practical choice than its retro rivals. Those competitors - cars like the MINI Hatch and the DS3 - have recently improved themselves though, hence the need for the thorough Beetle update we're going to look at here.

Driving Experienceword count: 269

Let's cut to the chase. No, this car still doesn't offer quite as good an overall ride and handling package as you'll find in the Golf, but to compare these two cars is an irrelevance. You'll buy a Beetle because it's a bit of fun and because there aren't too many compromises required in doing so. And that's all a million miles from the dull, sensible practicality of Golf motoring. Under the skin, no Beetle features the state-of-the-art multi-link rear suspension set-up you'll find in pokier Golfs, but most potential buyers probably won't notice that this model perseveres with a simpler, cheaper torsion beam arrangement. Popular is the 1.4 TSI petrol model, probably pick of the range, offering a 150PS output from an engine that uses both supercharging and turbocharging to produce a healthy 250Nm of torque, good enough to see this car to sixty from rest in 8.7s. It's pretty good round the twisty stuff too, thanks to a clever XDS electronic differential lock. This improves handling through fast corners by selectively braking the unloaded wheel on the inside of the curve, so preventing wheelspin and firing the car through the bend. But Beetle motoring isn't really about high performance and with that in mind, you may feel minded to save a little and opt for the lower-powered petrol derivative or a diesel. Petrol-wise, you're looking at a turbocharged 1.2 TSI unit, surprisingly punchy despite its modest 105PS output. With 175Nm of torque on tap, sixty here is 10.9s away en route to 112mph. The diesel option is a 2.0 TDI unit offered with either 110 or 150PS.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

5.9

11

Combined mpg:

42.2

65.7

CO2 (g/km):

112

Extra urban mpg:

51.4

72.4

Height (mm):

1486

Insurance group:

11

... and 7 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
70%
Handling
50%
Comfort
70%
Space
50%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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