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Beetle Breakdown: What’s What With the 2012 Volkswagen New Beetle

As of Super Bowl XLV this past weekend, we are one step closer to getting an official look at the 2012 Volkswagen New Beetle. During the big game, VW showed a fanciful commercial following a pin-striped black beetle – of the insect kind – racing through the woods; the ad culminated with a profile shot of the bug tracing an outline of the newest New Beetle.

While we may not have any new pictures yet of the 2012 New Beetle, we do have a couple of the vital stats already. Volkwagen’s bubble-shaped coupe will definitely have at least one turbo-charged powerplant, as indicated VW’s consumer site, and it has already been confirmed that we will see a turbo-charged mill underneath the hood of the coupe in the form of a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4. Also confirmed for the new New Beetle is a 2.0-liter I-4, no word yet on whether or not the 2.5-liter I-5 will carry over. All engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual or VW’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The look of the 2012 New Beetle should be fairly similar to that of the current Beetle revival. Spy shots and the official outline reveal what looks to be a longer, wider, chopped-top rendition of what we’ve been seeing on dealer lots since the turn of the century. Because of the longer wheelbase and the need for better rear headroom, the New Beetle will lose a bit of its rounded shape, trading it for a flat-topped roofline similar to that on the New Beetle Ragster Concept unveiled at the 2005 Detroit auto show. The look seems to be much more masculine than the outgoing model, with a more planted stance and less anime-like perkiness.

Leading the charge bringing the New Beetle to production was the secretly designed Volkswagen Concept 1, hitting the show stand at the 1994 Detroit auto show. The Concept 1 was a smash hit, and a production-version New Beetle based on the Concept 1 was green-lighted. It hit dealers as a 1998 model, and was a breath of fresh air into Volkswagen dealers at the time. The car was built using the mechanics of the Mark IV Golf hatchback, and brought the legendary Type I Beetle design into the 20th Century. A convertible version was added in 2003, followed by a minor refresh in 2005.

Volkswagen has already sold almost 300 of the 2012 model, despite the car not hitting dealers until this fall. That is because Oprah gave away 275 of the new New Beetles to her audience members during the “Favorite Things” special of The Oprah Winfrey Show last November. The media queen currently drives a VW New Beetle, and has named it to her trend-setting list of favorite things. Our guess is that we will have an official look at the 2012 New Beetle at either the Geneva auto show next month or at the New York auto show in April.

Source: Volkswagen

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Buying Guide

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Fair Market Price $11,922 2.5 (Manual) Hatchback

EPA MPG:

22 City / 31 Hwy

Safety (NHTSA):

★★★★

Horse Power:

170 @ 5700