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The new Beetle offers a modern interpretation of the classic design, along with no-compromise German engineering and a sporty new attitude

• Starting base price of $19,795 for Beetle
• Sporty Turbo model has a starting MSRP of $23,395
• Longer, lower, and wider than the previous Beetle
• Available premium features include Bluetooth® technology, tilt and slide Panoramic sunroof, Fender® Premium Audio System, Keyless access with push-button start, and leather seating surfaces.
• Efficient TDI® Clean Diesel model goes on sale in summer of 2012: the most fuel-efficient Beetle in the lineup

Herndon, VA,  -  When the first Beetle rolled off the production line, it was simply called the Volkswagen—“the people’s car”—but its distinctive shape inspired nicknames across the globe: Beetle, Käfer, Vocho, Coccinelle, Fusca, or Maggiolino In total, 21.5 million cars were sold, making it the most popular car manufactured off a single platform of all time.

More than 60 years later, in 1998, the “New Beetle” rekindled the spirit and imagination of the original for a new generation of Volkswagen owners. This second-generation version sparked another round of “Beetle Mania”.

The third-generation of the internationally beloved Beetle went on sale in September of 2011. At launch, the Beetle and the sporty Turbo were offered, but a TDI® Clean Diesel version will go on sale in the third quarter of 2012, which is likely to be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever made.

Updating an icon
Only people who really know and respect the Beetle’s heritage could have produced a new generation of this iconic vehicle. The task for Volkswagen’s design team was clear: develop a modern interpretation of the Beetle, with all the benefits of today’s technologies and safety features, along with the driving characteristics that define the Volkswagen brand. The result had to remain affordable and stay true to the Beetle’s spirit and great heritage.

It’s always hard to reinterpret an original. Think of classic designs such as the Coke® bottle, the iPhone®, Ray Ban® Aviator™ sunglasses, the Porsche® 911®, a Leica® camera, and … The Beetle. How does one reinvent a look that is so recognizable and unique? Volkswagen Group Design Chief Walter de Silva and Volkswagen Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff, welcomed the task and set about designing “a new original”.

The designers wanted to develop the new car around the earliest Beetle profile rather than the 1998 New Beetle. In short, they wanted a car that respects the past but looks toward the future. And that is what they created.

Placing the original Beetle and the 21st Century Beetle next to one another, it’s clear that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical, but the overall look is bolder and more dynamic. The Beetle also breaks free of the design geometry defined by three semi-circles—front fender, rear fender, and domed roof above it. The roof profile actually runs distinctly lower and can be considered a development of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005. As a result, the new Beetle is bolder, more dynamic, and more masculine.

“The Beetle is now characterized by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front hood is longer, the front windshield is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. All of this creates a new dynamism,” explains Klaus Bischoff.

The 2012 Beetle is 71.2 inches wide (3.3 inches wider), 58.5 inches tall (0.5 inches lower) and 168.4 inches long (7.4 inches longer). The new focal point is the C-pillar. The development team also increased the car’s track widths and wheelbase. The changed proportions give the Beetle a powerful and dynamic appearance.

A new feature is the rear spoiler that is standard on the 2.0 Turbo and is integrated into the design. The top surface of the rear spoiler is black, while the underside is painted in body color. Also, for the first time the Beetle is offered with Bi-Xenon headlights. These also serve as the daytime running lights and parking lights.

Klaus Bischoff characterizes the new Beetle’s interior thusly: “Its interior design is as unique as it is unmistakable, and very much a Beetle design, just like the car’s exterior styling.” The 21st Century Beetle’s styling, ergonomics and quality interact to create a new, friendly car with a highly individual nature. The shape and use of color for the painted or carbon-look dashboards harkens back to the design of the first Beetle.

Three round gauges are arranged in front of the driver (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge), providing all key information at a glance. A multifunction display is integrated in the speedometer, which is housed in the central position in the binnacle. The steering wheel is specially designed with optional painted accents in the spokes depending on the equipment line.

Framed by two air vents, the audio/navigation system is optimally located in the driver’s field of vision on the dashboard. Within easy reach, the climate controls are situated just below. Volkswagen’s Keyless access and push-button start system, which allows the driver to operate without a door or ignition key, appears for the first time in the Beetle. When one of the front door handles is touched, the system detects access authorization from a transmitter, then unlocks the Beetle and starts the engine with the push of a button.

Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glove box integrated into the dashboard—the kaeferfach or “Beetle bin”. The lid folds upward, while the standard glove box opens downward. Another classic feature is the auxiliary instrumentation package sited above the audio/navigation system that consists of an oil temperature gauge, a clock with stopwatch function, and a boost pressure gauge. This is standard on Turbo and TDI models.

Even though the “cathedral ceiling” dome roof of the New Beetle has been replaced with a sleek and sporty roofline, front and rear passenger headroom remains plentiful. The longer roof section results in 0.4 inches more rear-seat headroom. Front legroom is improved, too, by 1.9 inches, and front shoulder room grows by 2.5 inches. Overall, the interior volume has increased from 81 to 85 cubic feet.

The trunk is significantly larger, offering 15.4 cubic feet of space, compared with the New Beetle’s 12.0 cubic feet: with the seats folded, the capacity increases to 29.9 cubic feet. A split-folding rear seat—new on this Beetle—and a wide opening trunk lid ease loading and unloading. The transparent, panoramic tilt/slide glass sunroof is 80 percent larger than on the previous model. The insulating glass blocks 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy.

The 2012 Beetle offers concert quality sound with an optional Fender® Premium Audio System equipped with an additional subwoofer and 400 watts of output power. Embedded in the vehicle design is proprietary Panasonic® speaker technology. The system covers the cabin with directional sound from front door speakers that generate imaging beyond the capabilities of traditional speaker designs. It cuts through the noise and other distractions with front dual voice coil speakers, with extended range for all musical genres. Those choosing this sound system also receive adjustable interior ambiance lighting.

Engines and Transmissions
The 2012 Beetle offers two engines and transmissions: the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic; and the 2.0-liter TSI® turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the acclaimed DSG® six-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual.

The dual-overhead-cam, 20-valve, 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine makes 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy values are improved by up to 10 percent over prior 2.5-liter models. When outfitted with the six-speed automatic transmission, the EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.

The dual-overhead-cam, 16-valve, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the Turbo makes 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, delivered from just 1700 rpm. With the DSG transmission, the Turbo gets EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway; for the Turbo with six-speed manual, the figures are 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

The Beetle TDI uses the company’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection Clean Diesel engine that makes 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The car has a manufacturer fuel economy estimate of 29 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.

Clean Diesel Leadership: Volkswagen pioneered the use of turbocharging and direct injection in diesel engines and continues to lead the industry in this technology. This isn’t the first Beetle to be sold in the U.S. market with a diesel engine. From 1998 until 2006, the New Beetle was fitted with a 1.9-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.

Since then, this engine has been heavily revised to accommodate increasing demand for improvements in exhaust emissions and acoustics. One of the most fundamental improvements was converting the fuel-injection system to a common-rail design, as well as increasing the capacity by 72 cc thanks to a 1.5-mm wider bore.

The current engine features a cast-iron cylinder block and an aluminum-alloy cylinder head. It also utilizes some subtle design elements that contribute to longevity and the reduction of noise, vibration, and harshness. The forged steel crankshaft, for instance, uses just four counterweights, instead of eight, to reduce bearing load and noise emissions. The pistons incorporate annular channels into which oil is sprayed for cooling the piston-ring zone. A pair of counter-rotating balancer shafts is situated below the crankshaft in the oil pan.

Dual overhead camshafts are driven via a toothed belt that also powers the coolant pump and the high-pressure fuel-injection pump. The cams themselves are linked by means of spur gears that have an integrated backlash adjuster that helps to ensure quiet operation. Each cylinder has two intake and two exhaust valves.

The TDI engine’s intake manifold uses flap valves that are powered by a step motor that is in turn activated by the Engine Control Module (ECM). At idle and low engine speeds, the flap valves are closed in order to cause high swirl into the combustion chamber, which results in optimal mixture. During regular driving, the flap valves are adjusted continuously according to load and engine speed to ensure optimum air movement; above 3000 rpm, the valves open fully for maximum filling of the combustion chamber.

The engine’s turbocharger features adjustable guide vanes that maintain the best aspect ratio for low- and high-speed performance. In order to meet current tailpipe emissions standards in all 50 states, the engine makes use of both high- and low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation over all engine speeds, as well as an exhaust system that has a particulate filter and no fewer than three catalytic convertors: for oxidation, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and hydrogen sulfide.

Dual-clutch transmission advantages: DSG combines the comfort and ease-of-use of an automatic with the responsiveness and economy of a manual. The six-speed, transversely-mounted DSG unit features two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation. One clutch controls the 'odd' gears—first, third, fifth and reverse—while the other operates the even gears. Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With DSG, the set-up allows the next-higher gear to be engaged but remain on standby until it is actually selected. In other words, if the Beetle is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated. As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second. In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic® function to permit manual gear selection.

All Beetle models are fitted with a strut-type front suspension with a lower control arm and an anti-roll bar: on the Beetle, this is 22 mm in diameter and is increased to 23 mm on the Turbo. The Beetle 2.5L and TDI models have a torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs and telescopic dampers. Turbo models get a multi-link independent rear suspension, with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an 18-mm-diameter anti-roll bar.

All Beetle models have standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake pressure distribution (EBD). The Beetle has 11.3-inch-diameter vented front discs and 10.7-inch-diameter rear disc brakes. The Turbo has larger 12.3-inch-diameter vented front discs, with red calipers.

To help ensure that power is applied properly in challenging conditions, the Turbo model features the XDS® cross differential (limited-slip) system that electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of slippage, transfers extra torque to the wheel or wheels with the most traction

Safety and Security
The starting point in the Beetle’s safety armory is a very rigid body structure that uses ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steels in the crash-load paths and seamless laser welds. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is standard, as are driver and front passenger airbags and Side Curtain Protection® airbags in front and rear. The Beetle includes Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collision.

The Beetle is also covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Warranty—three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Additionally, all current Volkswagen vehicles use synthetic oil, which, when combined with state-of-the-art German engineering, eliminates the need for a 5000-mile oil change, and allows owners to go farther between scheduled oil changes.

Model Line-up
Each Beetle model has three trim levels: base; with sunroof; and with sunroof, sound, and navigation.

Beetle 2.5L
The Beetle, which has a starting MSRP of $19,795, comes standard with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power windows with one-touch up/down, six-way manual adjustable seats with lumbar, the ‘kaeferfach’ additional glovebox, heatable front seats, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, a split folding rear seat, aux-in for portable audio players, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the RCD 310 eight-speaker audio system. Bluetooth® connectivity is standard, along with a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod® cable and three-color ambient lighting. A six-speed automatic transmission is an $1100 option.

Beetle 2.5L with Sunroof
This takes the Beetle’s standard equipments and adds: a panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel; a front center console with armrest; Keyless access with push-button start; and the Premium VIII audio system with three-month SiriusXM® satellite radio subscription.

Beetle 2.5L with Sunroof, Sound, and Navigation
In addition to the features on the Beetle with Sunroof, this adds: 18-inch disc aluminum-alloy wheels; the RNS 315 navigation system; and the Fender premium audio system. The Beetle with Sunroof, Sound, and Navi starts at $24,095.

The base TDI comes with standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, all the equipment listed above, and an interior and exterior chrome package. The standard RCD310 audio system has an AM/FM radio, CD player, Bluetooth®, and eight speakers.

TDI with Sunroof
This version takes the TDI’s standard equipment and adds a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof that is fully 80 percent larger than the one fitted to the New Beetle. The insulating glass blocks 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy. The model’s Premium VIII audio system has a full-color touchscreen display, a six-disc CD changer, and an SD card reader.

TDI with Sunroof, Sound and Navigation
The topline TDI features the RNS 315 navigation system that has a five-inch touchscreen display. The standard Fender® Premium Audio System offers concert quality sound. This has an additional subwoofer, proprietary Panasonic® speaker technology that covers the cabin with directional sound, and 400 watts of output power.

Beetle Turbo
Starting at $23,395, the Turbo adds the 200-hp TSI® turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch aluminum-alloy “Twister” wheels, front foglights, gloss black exterior mirror housings, and a rear spoiler. Inside, the Turbo adds alloy pedals and a leather- wrapped shifter knob and brake lever. The six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission is an $1100 option.

Beetle Turbo with Sunroof and Sound
This package adds the panoramic sunroof, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, Keyless Access with push-button start, the Fender® premium audio system, and a highline trip computer. The base MSRP is $26,395

Beetle Turbo with Sunroof, Sound, and Navigation
The topline Beetle Turbo starts at $27,995 and adds leather for the seat coverings, door trims, and dashboard, as well as the RNS 315 Navigation system.

Beetle 2.5L: Hyundai Veloster, Mini Cooper
Beetle Turbo: Honda Civic Si Coupe, Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Mini Cooper S

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at or to learn more.

This press release and images of the Beetle are available at

“DSG”, “RCD”, “RNS”, “TDI”, “TSI”, “VW”, “Volkswagen”, all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. “Carefree Maintenance” and “Side Curtain Protection” are registered trademarks of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Aviator” is a trademark and “Ray-Ban” is a registered trademark of Luxottica Group S.p.A. “Bluetooth” is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. “Coke” is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company. “Fender” is a registered trademark of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. “iPod” and “iPhone” are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. “Leica” is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH. “Panasonic” is a registered trademark of Panasonic Corporation. “Porsche” and “911” are registered trademarks of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.

Where stated, fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. All other fuel economy values are forecast manufacturer values for the USA; those EPA estimates were not available at time of release.

MSRPs exclude taxes, title, transportation, options and dealer charges.