First Look: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is receiving a third engine choice for the 2013 model year on top of the base 2.5-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engines: a 2.0-liter turbodiesel.

Volkswagen announced that the 2013 Beetle TDI, which made its debut at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, should reach dealerships this summer. The Beetle TDI will get the same mill used in the Jetta and Golf, which is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, direct-injection inline-four rated at 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic, both of which send power to the front wheels. Fuel economy estimates have been set at 29 mpg city and 39 in the highway, just a smidge below the 30/42 mpg rated Golf and Jetta TDIs.

Differentiation between the TDI and other Beetles are extremely slight: it sports a chrome trim along the tops of the doors, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, and TDI badging on the trunklid. Inside, the only difference is the addition of oil temperature and turbo boost gauges, as well as a stopwatch mounted on the dashboard above the center stack; however, the same set of gauges are available on the Turbo model too.

A diesel engine had been previously offered in the Beetle from 1998 to 2006. The new engine features a number of improvements over the old 1.9-liter turbo four, including a common-rail design, reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, and an intake manifold that features active flap valves that better maintains optimal air flow. Thanks to a particulate filter, gas exhaust recirculation, and three different catalytic converters (for oxidation, nitrogen oxides, and hydrogen sulfide) the Beetle TDI will meet emission standards in all 50 states.

The Beetle TDI will get a three-level trim lineup similar to the 2.5-liter and 2.0-liter Turbo model: TDI base, TDI with sunroof, and TDI with sunroof, sound, and navigation. Standard on the base TDI are an eight-speaker sound system, interior and exterior chrome package, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Stepping up to the sunroof model nets a tilting and sliding power sunroof along with a full-color touchscreen radio head unit. Top spec models come standard with the RNS 315 navigation system and a Fender premium audio system. Every Beetle has electronic stability control, driver and front passenger airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags as standard.

There is roughly a $5-6000 premium the diesel mill warrants on the Passat, Golf, and Jetta, and the 2012 Beetle currently retails starting at $20,565 with destination, so expect the Beetle TDI to start somewhere in the mid-$20,000 range. Volkswagen will release full pricing details closer to the car's debut this summer.

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