Next-Generation Volkswagen Beetle Could Have Four Variants
In 2013, Volkswagen sold 120,000 Beetles worldwide. Not a huge volume by Volkswagen standards, but a big enough segment to hang on to, which is exactly what the Germans intend to do when the cult car adopts the modern MQB platform in 2019.
Perhaps the most logical addition to the range is the reinvented Microbus. After the ill-fated 2001 Microbus concept (too big, too expensive) and the aborted 2011 Microbus design exercise derived from the Up! (too small, too compromised), the third attempt based on MQB might hit the bull´s eye. Incorporating structural elements of the Golf Sportsvan and the next Touran MPV, the proposed 2019 Microbus is said to be a roomy, versatile, and visually compelling blend of modern and retro.
Next on the Volkswagen product planners' wish list is a New Beetle crossover which reportedly bears a distant resemblance to the archaic Kübelwagen, the army-sponsored Iltis, and the rudimentary VW181 (also known as The Thing). A rugged lifestyle vehicle and by no means a proper SUV, the still-nameless affordable all-rounder would feature a stacked suspension, protective cladding, all-season tires, and tailor-made cabin trim. Options are to include four-wheel drive, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and a plug-in hybrid application boasting a frugal 95-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine.
In addition to the familiar fixed-head two-door Beetle sedan, we could also see Volkswagen offer a bespoke coupé along the lines of the coveted Karmann Ghia. The sportiest New Beetle variant by a long shot, this proposed 2+2-seater is said to be an evolution of extrovert concept cars like the Beetle R, the Dune, and the Bugster. Proportionally almost similar to an old-fashioned hot rod, the ground-hugging coupé has a small greenhouse, a low roofline and a wide track, sources say. Although this version could be easily converted into an even meaner-looking Speedster complete with a token bikini top, the marketing department reportedly favors the more conventional four-seat cabrio. Engine-wise, a new high-performance 2.0-liter, 240-hp diesel and the 300-hp gasoline-fed twin-turbo four we know from the Volkswagen Golf R should work for both high-end models. Standard equipment would include DSG and 4Motion.
Last but not least, Volkswagen design is toying with a funky yet functional five-door New Beetle, which may require an extended wheelbase and/or a new pillarless door concept to make the best of its limiting bubblecar proportions.
Like most third-generation Beetles, the practical five-door would be available with a large fabric sunroof, a go-anywhere Cross package, a Fender music system, a high-mpg Blue Motion kit and a GTI performance option. Although the MQB component set is more expensive to develop and build than the outgoing PQ35 platform, it does offer extended flexibility, modern electronics and a broader drivetrain selection.