First Look: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle GSR and R-Line Convertible

If you’re a fan of Volkswagen’s turbocharged Beetle, chances are you may be interested in a pair of special-edition Beetle Turbo models debuting this week at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

2014 Beetle GSR

Beetle-geeks will likely remember the original Gelb-Schwarzer Renner or “Black and Yellow Racer.” Built in 1973, the special-edition model took a 1303S Super Beetle and decked it out with yellow paint and a matte black hood and decklid. Only 3500 were built for the European market.

40 years later, Volkswagen’s reviving the GSR treatment — and this time, it’s bringing it to North America. Based on the Beetle Turbo coupe, the new 2014 Beetle GSR again wears bright yellow paint, along with a hood, roof panel, and decklid trimmed in matte black. New stripes — with prominent GSR lettering — run just above both rocker sills, while black-painted brake calipers peek through 19-inch Tornado aluminum alloy wheels.

The black-on-yellow color scheme continues within the Beetle GSR, as its black leather sport seats are accented with yellow contrast stitching, which matches the contrast stitching used on the leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel. GSR models also gain an R-Line dash pad, unique shift knob, leather handbrake lever, black floor mats with yellow embroidery, and a serialized emblem for the dashpad.

Like the original GSR, which used a stock 1600-cc engine, there are no mechanical changes in store for today’s Beetle GSR. As such, it uses the Beetle Turbo’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, which cranks out 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but Volkswagen’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional.

VW says the new GSR will be available this fall, and that pricing will be formally announced at that point. Given its content — including sunroof, Fender-branded audio system, keyless entry and ignition, and Bi-xenon headlamps — essentially matches the current Turbo with Sunroof and Sound package, we’d expect the 2014 GSR to start slightly higher than $26, 395. Only 3500 cars will be built globally, and VW says “more than half” will be shipped to and sold in the U.S.


2014 Beetle Convertible R-Line

Volkswagen already confirmed its R-Line Beetle was destined for our shores, so it’s not surprising to learn a R-Line Beetle Convertible will also join the portfolio for the 2014 model year.

Predictably, its R-Line decor essentially matches that of the Beetle R-Line Coupe. The angular front fascia gains large lower air intakes, while the headlamps are given LED daytime running lamps. Unique 19-inch wheels are also part of the package, as are R-Line emblems and a blacked-out rear diffuser panel. R-Line models may look sportier than other Beetles, but still use the same 210-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as any other Beetle Turbo – including the aforementioned Beetle GSR.

Inside, R-Line touches include metallic-like finishes for the dash and door trim; a flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel with R-Line branding; stainless-steel door sill plates with R-Line logos, aluminum sport pedals, and leather-trimmed sport seats. VW also says standard features will include navigation, keyless entry/ignition, and a Fender-branded premium audio system.

Pricing will be announced closer to launch later this year, but expect the Beetle R-Line convertible to carry roughly a $4000 premium over a comparably-equipped Beetle R-Line coupe.

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Buying Guide
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2013 Volkswagen Beetle

2013 Volkswagen Beetle

MSRP $19,995 2.5 (Manual) Hatchback

EPA MPG:

22 City / 29 Hwy

Horse Power:

170 @ 5700

Torque:

177 @ 4250