2012 Volkswagen Beetle revealed [videos]

Next-generation Beetle drops the 'New' from its name but comes with a design update meant to keep the retro-styled model relevant

This is the next-generation 2012 VW Beetle, which has now dropped the capitalized word 'New' from its name.

The next Beetle model will be making its official debut soon at the Auto Shanghai show and then later at the New York auto show this week.

The 2012 VW Beetle differs in styling from the previous generation with a flatter roof and more upright back end. The new Beetle is also wider than its predecessor by 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) and longer by 6 inches (15.2 cm).

Engine options will include the 2.0 liter TFSI engine and the 2.0 liter TDI diesel in both European and North American spec variants.

The North American Beetle still gets the 2.5 liter as an entry-level option with 170 bhp (127 kW / 172 PS) and 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque.

VW will offer various performance packages to make the 2012 Beetle as sporty as ever, including 19-inch wheels and a rear spoiler as seen in the photos here.

Source: Volkswagen


  • New generation of Volkswagen Beetle unveiled in Shanghai, New York and Berlin
  • All-new vehicle draws design cues from original Beetle launched 73 years ago
  • Efficient engines and innovative features combine with heritage to make a ‘modern classic'
  • On sale in North America in autumn 2011, then mainland Europe; UK early in 2012

Volkswagen has unveiled the latest generation Beetle in Shanghai on the eve of the city's motor show, marking a new era in this iconic car's history. The latest generation moves away from design of the New Beetle of 1998 and instead draws on cues from the original and Beetle Ragster concept shown in Detroit in 2005. As such it's longer, wider and lower, giving a more masculine and dynamic appearance.

The Beetle now measures 4,278 mm in length (+152 mm), 1,808 mm in width (+84 mm) and 1,486 in height (-12 mm). The track width front and rear, as well as the wheelbase at 2,537 mm, are also increased. Overseen by Walter de Silva (Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand), with Marc Lichte the team leader for exterior design, the car's new proportions mean the roof extends back further, the windscreen is shifted back and the rear section is now more akin to that of the original Beetle. The boot capacity is a practical 310 litres, up from 209 litres in the 1998 model. The Beetle has four seats, with a split-fold rear seat for added versatility.

Inside the cabin, the Beetle's designers created a modern, practical and distinctive appearance with easy to identify and ergonomic controls. Certain features, such as the glovebox and colour accent panels hark back to the original.

Three trim levels will be available - Beetle, Design and Sport - and each will be endowed with its own individual character and features. A wide range of innovative optional equipment will also be available, ranging from Keyless Access through satellite navigation systems and a panoramic sunroof to bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights - all of which are available for the first time on a Beetle.

In the UK, a choice of four engines will be offered: three petrol - a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS, a 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS and a 2.0-litre TSI 200 PS; and one diesel - a 1.6-litre 105 PS with BlueMotion Technology. Thanks to the addition of Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems the Beetle 1.6-litre 105 PS is estimated to have a combined fuel consumption of 65.7 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 112 g/km.

As well as being economical and environmentally sound, the Beetle is also built to be one of the safest cars on the road thanks not only to features such as standard ESP and six airbags but also a laser-welded and galvanised body structure which has one of the highest torsional rigidity values in the segment at 26,000 Nm/?. In addition the range-topping engine, the 2.0-litre 200 PS, will feature standard XDS electronic differential lock as fitted to the Golf GTI.

The new car will be available to order in the UK in the summer, with first cars arriving in showrooms early in 2012. More details will be available closer to launch.

When the original was launched in 1938, it was known simply as ‘the Volkswagen', quickly acquiring a raft of nicknames from across the world. Whatever the name, its popularity is not in question, with 21.5 million sold in the past 73 years.

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Comments (37)

tbrodie tbrodie
While readers here may regard the new version more masculine than the New Beetle, when the New Beetle was introduced, it had a high proportion of male buyers. New cars were in high demand. Guys tuned and customized them. It was a nostalgic novelty car for anyone who owned an original VW bug in the 60s or 70s. Granted, most guys were not buying yellow, but you/d see silver, blue, or black models with special wheels, body mods, etc. Young and old men and women liked the New Beetle when it was introduced. Either people don’t remember or weren’t paying attention to the New Beetle when it was a phenomena. They had a great advertising campaign for it. Auto reviews struggled to find something wrong with it, often coming up with the unusual sound the door made when closing along with poor cup holder placement, and small exterior mirrors (the latter two were ultimately dealt with). I think VW lost its male audience by not following up with more performance oriented versions. For example, an awd model never made it here to the US. Aside from the limited run Turbo model, their special editions were just color and trim packages. Some of them were nice, but VW ultimately abandoned this icon to small volume sales geared towards women. When I bought my ’00 New Beetle, I considered other cars costing substantially more. If they had blown AWD version with more bells and whistles, I would have bought it even if it were twice the cost of the regular car. Granted, this would not be a volume seller. It's a tough business case, but other manufacturers manage to keep interest up in iconic models with small volume special editions. (Look at what Ford does with the Mustang.) The original VW Beetle was a car you could tinker with. Aside from Dune Buggies, there were the poor man's Porsche wannabees, fun cars with a back seat. When Disney made the original Herbie movie, it was after noting how people responded to the Beetle in parking lot. People don't react to it like other cars. They selected the VW because they thought it had a hidden personality that people connected to. Like the GTI, VW has not taken very good care of this icon. Unlike the GTI, a few years of sub-par performing models won’t remedy what they’ve done by making orange and pink models. I suspect this car will also have an initial high sales for men, but that this will decline in year or two. I don't think it will enjoy the phenomena the New Beetle did because original Beetle owners are now fifteen years older. I don't see this becoming another Mini. At best, it will be a PT Cruiser.
Apr 21st, 2011 3:42am
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The Car Guru 4 The Car Guru 4
Shagadelic indeed. A true competitor to the retro-schick MINI; but there lies a problem. Women adored the last Beetle but now, with the extra dose of testosterone, VW have lost many of their Ladybug fans. But on the other side, the Beetle name has such a feminist stigma that men will be too afraid to drive it. I hope I'm wrong though, this Beetle is too cool to shut down.
Apr 20th, 2011 1:55am
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M! M!
nice, i am waiting for some owners to put a "Panamera" badge in the rear.
Apr 19th, 2011 9:24am
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F10V8tt F10V8tt
The rear looks like a mix of the old 6 series and a PT cruiser!
Apr 19th, 2011 12:25am
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catchmyshadow catchmyshadow
i really love the old school wheels, check this out: http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/944/screenshot2011041822533.jpg
Apr 19th, 2011 12:15am
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medicineman medicineman
What about a GTI model ?
Apr 18th, 2011 11:32pm
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catchmyshadow catchmyshadow
Don´T know about a GTI BUT VW told the news a few weeks ago, that they will produce a R-Version of the Beetle, even more badass!
Apr 19th, 2011 12:17am
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slim slim
Finally it looks like VW has hired a whole new design team with some testosterone. I like it. From the muscular fenders to the Bentley Continental GT inspired rear end. In order for this next Beetle to compete with the other hot hatch's out there, VW needs to make a hi performance model. I say ressurect the "Beetle RSi" and/or "Super Beetle" name and fit the car with Awd. Give the SuperBeetle the 2.0T boosted to 250hp with upscale interior from the CC, and then build the RSi to dominate the hot hatch segment (BMW 1M, RS3, WRX, and Evo.) Save money by using Audis turbo 5cylinder from the TT-RS. Give it an even 330hp and torque, lighten it via heavy use of carbon fiber and aluminum and VW can say game over to all competition. VW can easily do this for well under $40 grand with standard GPS, leather, 19" wheels, led lights, etc.. also they should offer an Autobahn package that removes the speed limiter allowind the car to hit at least 170mph. win win win. Otherwise they can just neuter it by leaving it with the normal 5cyl making 125 hp. Less than a Prius, Corolla, or Civic hybrid. Bad idea.
Apr 18th, 2011 11:12pm
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-Matt- -Matt-
nearly every comment is positive - great. i like it too :)
Apr 18th, 2011 10:06pm
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Max_Speed Max_Speed
another bug to avoid on the city streets... joking. It actually looks quite good
Apr 18th, 2011 9:46pm
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BrianWCF BrianWCF
3 videos added to article.
Apr 18th, 2011 9:24pm
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bordeauxman1 bordeauxman1
the side : very good. The back : :-S. The front : no, to similar to the model before.
Apr 18th, 2011 8:37pm
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adz612 adz612
to each his own. I'm not a fan. but no doubt it'll sell very well indeed.
Apr 18th, 2011 7:53pm
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9TNine 9TNine
Looks good - and different from the rather disappointing new Jetta
Apr 18th, 2011 7:07pm
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PetrolHeadJL PetrolHeadJL
Cannot wait to see the real thing! It think VW will do a R version just like with the Golf, to compete with the Mini Cooper S works! If they dumb the RS3 engine to the Beetle make it to the ultimate bugs will be super cool. A 911 eater!
Apr 18th, 2011 7:00pm
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radmeister radmeister
It's weird, as much as i would love to not like this car i can't. There is just something about it that makes it kind of cool, maybe it's the porsche headlights and the meaner wheel arches, who knows but this bug has grown on me. If they make an R version with 4motion and 273hp it will be the hottest hatch in NA.
Apr 18th, 2011 6:59pm
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Bojassem Bojassem
This is a winner. Period
Apr 18th, 2011 6:52pm
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RobERob RobERob
It's like... so groovy ...like ....in a far out kinda way. It's something old, yet, something new. Interior is vastly improved as well. Gotta give a thumbs up to vw ...even though it's still not my style.
Apr 18th, 2011 6:30pm
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chris25 chris25
Its got body shape from VW Ragster concept but good design.
Apr 18th, 2011 5:48pm
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rsrtampa rsrtampa
I have been a "Bug" fan since the days of riding around in my moms 74 Super Beetle in the little space behind the back seat listening to bad disco and the sound that only a beetle can make. However, I could not see myself in the last gen because it was way to girly. (and Im gay btw and contrary to what straight people think we don't all drive chick cars!) But this is quite nice and way more masculine. Hats off to VW for this one.
Apr 18th, 2011 5:45pm
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rcw rcw
Same here, I couldn't agree with you more. The outgoing design was too chickish for me. I think that they did a good job of maintaining to spirit of the car, but toning it up.
Apr 18th, 2011 11:52pm
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car-o-bar car-o-bar
Nice.. finally a Beetle males will not mind driving. I think VW should come out with an extended wheelbase 4 door version too. That to me would be the ultimate retro small family car.
Apr 18th, 2011 5:29pm
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catchmyshadow catchmyshadow
wow, looks much better than i thought judging those spy pics. i could see my self driving one, and i am a male.
Apr 18th, 2011 4:58pm
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