The Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 show is back this weekend, and the star attraction this year will be the all-new third-generation Volkswagen Beetle that was launched just last night. Visitors to the show will get up close and personal with the Beetle as well as a range Volkswagen’s other models, some of them yet to be launched in Malaysia including the Amarok, Golf Cabriolet, Passat Variant, and CrossPolo.
Although no longer the people’s car that it used to be, the Beetle nameplate is one that is as close to Volkswagen’s heart as it is to the public. It is the model that symbolizes Volkswagen’s origins, and is thus an icon in many senses of the word. The Beetle of today is more a fun and lifestyle vehicle, as models such as the Polo and Golf take over the task of catering to the masses.
Worldwide demand of the Beetle is said to have been overwhelming, and according to Mr Ricky Tay, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Malaysia, the company had to fight tooth and nail with their counterparts from other countries just to secure stocks from VW’s plant in Mexico that has been tasked to roll the model out.
As such, VGM is only able to roll out the Beetle with the sole option of a 1.2 TSI engine with a more powerful 2.0 TSI model to be introduced at a later date. Powered by the familiar mill from the Polo which we had just recently reviewed, the Beetle sends 103hp and 175Nm to its front wheels via the dry-clutch 7-speed DSG transmission. Claimed performance figures are 10.9 seconds for the century sprint and 180kph top speed. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are rated at 5.9 l/100km and 137 g/km respectively.
The Beetle’s mechanical base is the platform of the Golf Mk VI. Despite rolling out the all-new MQB platform with the Audi A3 and Golf Mk VII recently, Volkswagen certainly isn’t done making money off the venerable PQ35 platform. For the Beetle, Volkswagen has swapped out the Golf’s multi-link rear suspension for a simpler torsion beam set-up. Only the yet-to-be-launched 2.0 TSI model retains the independent rear suspension architecture.
Compared to the second-generation Beetle (which was officially designated New Beetle), the new third-gen Beetle measures 84mm wider at 1,808mm, 12mm lower at 1,486mm, and 152mm longer at 4,278mm. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 22mm to 2,537mm, and the wheel tracks have been similarly widened – by 63mm at the front and by 49mm at the rear, now measuring at 1,578mm and 1,544mm respectively.
Worldwide, the Beetle is actually offered with three trim options, but VGM has opted to offer only the ‘Design Line’ package for now, which consists of 16-inch alloy rims with matching body-coloured dashboard and mirror housings. The body-coloured dashboard is a clear tribute to the original Beetle, and further references can be seen not only in its overall silhouette, but also the unique ‘Beetle Box’ storage compartment placed just above the usual glove box.
The Beetle 1.2 TSI is now on sale and is available at all Volkswagen authorised dealerships nationwide and priced at RM140,593.00 on-the-road before insurance. Colour choices available are Candy White, Tornado Red, Saturn Yellow, Reflex Silver, Deep Black, Platinum Grey and Graciosa Brown.
Those interested to view the Beetle up close or just to visit the Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 show may wish to register their interest at http://www.TheIconIsBack.com.my/
Pictures: Official Volkswagen release.