Pros ? A classic. Cute, inexpensive, fun to drive. The most popular single design car ever built.
Cons ? Headroom limited, especially in passenger seats.
The VW Beetle is the world?s bestselling single design car, in so much as that it?s original design remains unchanged to this day. It?s also the first car to reach over twenty million sales. Much of the affection for the Beetle is due its distinctive rounded shape which was instrumental in injecting personality into car design in a big way. It is quite possibly the most easily recognised car in the history of car production; rightly regarded as a design classic. Notably, the term Beetle appears nowhere on the vehicle although a Beetle is still instantly recognised as a Beetle everywhere.
The Volkswagen Type 1 or original VW Beetle was an economy vehicle produced by Volkswagen from 1938 to 2003. Although quickly becoming known as the Beetle or Bug car due to its distinctive rounded back Volkswagen only began using the name Beetle officially from 1967. The older cars have a classic status about them and are still affectionately restored. Well maintained older models are highly sought after. Although not known especially for its power, handling or comfort it remained a best seller for more than half a century, one of the most successful cars of all time. The old VW Beetles have a reputation for running indefinitely if occasionally patched up. Old Beetles are rear engine, air-cooled. After a surge of popularity during the post-war period, Beetles enjoyed a revival in the sixties when they were much admired for their individual styling and became associated with flower power. A Beetle notably appears on the cover of The Beatles album Abbey Road and they also appear in numerous swinging sixties films including The Love Bug. If you are seeking a sixties model, The Volkswagen Beetles post 1967 are of interest. The car was significantly upgraded with Hp increased from 50 to 53 hp, and further electrical upgrades from a 6 volt to a 12 volt system. The old Beetle was not only sold almost everywhere, it was also produced in 20 countries, including Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Nigeria and Peru. The New Beetle, in both hatchback and Cabriolet guise, is also selling well for VW.
Following positive reaction to the new Beetle concept car at the 1994 North American International Auto Show, Volkswagen moved the New Beetle into production and launched in 1998. Volkswagen designers at the companys California studio preserved the old Beetle look but with an added futuristic twist. The new Beetles are assembled at the VW Puebla factory in Mexico and are similar only in name and appearance to the old one. The New Beetles draw heavily on the design of the original Beetle but are also based technically on the Mark 4 Volkswagen Golf. The main difference between the new and old is that, like most cars, the New Beetle has the engine in the front and storage in the back. There is also a new Beetle convertible or Cabrio which maintains the famous curved roofline. The VW New Beetle is situated in the compact car market and achieves a high 4 stars in the EuroNCAP rating. Beetle insurance groups start at group 5 and rise to group 13.
The Volkswagen New Beetle is available as a two-door hatchback or a two-door convertible. The New Beetle has plenty of standard equipment, including air-conditioning, cruise control, heated mirrors. A 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine model offers 150 hp. Traction control, stability control, five-speed manual transmission are standard. A six-speed automatic is optional. The convertible comes with a manual-folding top and a glass rear window as standard. A power top is available as an option. Front seats are roomy but the rear seats are cramped.
1934 - The idea of the Beetle was born on January 17 1934, when Ferdinand Porsche wrote his ‘Exposé of a German People’s Car’. A people’s car or ‘Volkswagen’ should, he said, be fully adequate and reliable with light construction. It should offer room for four people, reach speeds of up to 100 km/h and be able to overcome gradients of 30 per cent.
1936 - The first prototype was completed on February 5 1936.
1945 - Mass production of the Beetle began in December 1945.
1947 - First exports started in August.
1949 - The first convertible Beetle. Production began to soar.
1950 - The 100,000th Beetle rolled off the line.
1955 - The millionth Beetle.
1967 – Major upgrade including improved clutch, braking system, and rear axles. New standard equipment includes two-speed windshield wipers, back-up lights, sealed-beam headlights and a driver side exterior mirror.
1972 - February 17 1972 the 15,007,034th Beetle made this car a world champion, overtaking the previous production record held by the Ford Model T
1981 – 20 millionth Beetle rolled off the Mexican production line
1998 - Launch of new Beetle. Earlier models up to 2005 used GL, GLS and GLX designations to reflect the various trim levels and the base engine was a 115-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A 100-hp 1.9-liter Turbo Direct Injection TDI was also offered until the end of 2006.
1999 – Until 2006 the New Beetle 1.8T was powered by a 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder -150 hp.
2000 - Two new colours for the New Beetle -Vapor Blue and Reflex Yellow - were introduced in limited editions.
2002 - VW added the Turbo S trim to the coupe line-up. It was equipped with a tuned up 180 hp version of the 1.8T turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch wheels and a leather interior.
2003 - The convertible was launched and the last old Beetle rolled off the production line on Wednesday 30 July. Two new models - the V5 Sport Edition and the Colour Concept are launched. The first is a new version of the Beetle V5 with extras such as two tone heated leather seats.
2005 - The Turbo S was discontinued in 2005.
2006 - The New Beetle received several major updates including an external makeover and a new 5-cylinder engine. The New Beetle also received a new powerplant - a 150-hp, 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine. Its high torque rating—170 lb.-ft. at 3,750 rpm—makes it better suited to 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission than the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder it replaced. The New Beetle is also available with a 5-speed manual.
2007 - A million sales of the new Beetle cars are expected to be reached in 2007. The New Beetle also adds colour choices. Diesel-powered TDI has been dropped.
5 Speed Manual
Max Speed 131mph
31.7mpg combined economy
12 year body protection warranty
3 year paintwork warranty
3 year/60,000 miles warranty (whichever is soonest)
Alarm with interior protection and remote central locking
Blue instrument lighting
Body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators
Curtain airbag system, for front passengers
Door side impact protection
Drivers and front passengers airbags with passengers de-activation switch
Drivers and front passengers illuminated sun visor mirrors
Drivers and front passengers seat height adjustment
Dust and pollen filter
Easy entry sliding seats with height adjustment (for access to rear seats)
Electric headlight height adjustment
Electric windows – front
Rear reading lights x 2
Electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors
Storage compartment in roof console (not with sunroof)
Electronic engine immobiliser
Rear three point seat belts (2 seats only)
ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme)
Upholstery - "Eclipse" cloth
Folding rear seat backrest
Front seat belt tensioners
Front seat side impact airbags
Full size steel spare wheel
Heat insulating tinted glass Heated rear window
Radio/CD player with RDS, 6 speakers and roof aerial
Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
High level 3rd brake light
Isofix child seat preparation
Luggage cover, removable
Power assisted steering
99 mph top speed
Insurance group 6