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CAR OF THE MONTH December 2011

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Review

Turbocharged Retro Coupe

A three-quarter front view of a red 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

In short: A sporty, turbocharged take on VW's classic coupe.

No more flower vase on the dashboard and out with the "new" in the name of this all-new Volkswagen Beetle. Launched in 1937, the "people's car" is one of the best representations of constant evolution in the auto world. In fact, if you had to choose a logo to define a car, you'd do well with the VW Beetle and its iconic shape. It evolved over the years with a major update at the turn of the century, and now the firm from Wolfsburg dubs this 2012 edition the 21st-century Beetle...and we like it. Trading in its bubbly body and cutesy persona for sleeker lines and a more masculine image, the latest version of the Volkswagen Beetle puts a higher premium on performance without ever abandoning its retro-chic feel. And there is a secondary "kaeferfach" (that's German for "beetle bin") glove box integrated into the dashboard reminiscent of the original Beetle. The car is the biggest one yet with a larger trunk. You'll sit four passengers comfortably or have a handy, sporty cargo ship.

An interior view of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

For all-around city use this Volkswagen Beetle Turbo is simply great and fun and makes people smile — including its driver. A large glass sunroof gives the car an even larger interior feel, and our Tornado red coupe came with a premium 400-watt Fender sound system with a subwoofer in the trunk. Sure-footed with a multi-link independent rear suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an 18-millimeter anti-roll bar, the Beetle Turbo also comes with a 200-horsepower engine coupled with a proven double clutch (DSG) transmission and 12.3-inch vented front brakes that will keep you going and stopping in a go-kart manner.

At $30,000, our top-of-the-line VW Beetle Turbo came with 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, large sunroof, leather covered seats, a multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth technology, interior color light schemes and a keyless entry system with push-button start. Later versions will come standard with 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights and a set of three extra performance gauges on the dash. Safety and security is improved from earlier models. Base models start at around $18,000, but for a fully equipped ride you'll need another $10,000...making it not necessarily the car for all the people.

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

Related Content:
2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L
Watch a video of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 12-year/unlimited mile limited warranty against corrosion perforation; 3-year/36,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance; 3-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance.

Base Price: $24,095 / As Tested: $29,825

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, frontl-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with direct injection
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission

Curb weight:
3,042 lbs
Wheelbase: 99.9 in
Length/Width/Height: 168.4/71.2/58.5 in
Turning circle: 35.4 ft

front and rear disc brakes with ABS and brake assist
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; independent torsion beam rear

Traction: electronic stabilization control

Top Speed: 120 mph
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds

EPA City:
21 mpg
EPA Highway: 30 mpg

driver and front passenger front airbags; front curtain airbags; front side airbags

Likes: design; performance

Dislikes: rearview mirror; lack of trunk release mechanism


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Photography: AlphaMedia

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