New Beetle hits the road

The legendary Beetle is back again, and from all reports it’s better than ever.  There can’t be too many people who live anywhere automobiles are common who wouldn’t recognize the iconic shape (and by golly personality) of the little German bugs, but look for some nice new touches.  The latest model hasn’t lost its originality, but has gained some features that will make you sit up and take notice.

The new Beetle is a little longer, lower and wider than its predecessors, with a more swept-back look than the old familiar boxy shape, but you’ll still recognize it as a Beetle, no question.  While it doesn’t exude male hormones like a Ferrari or Jaguar, the 2012 Beetle is not the flower-child any more, either.  For one thing, it’s got a 2.5 litre 5-cylinder engine (basically the same as the Golf Gti) that gives is a top speed twice the legal limit, and it zips through its five gears just like a sports car.

The 1.2 TSI model is petrol-driven with 103 bhp, and there will also be a 1.4 TSI with 158 bph, a diesel 1.6 TDI, and the model that will be available in the UK in spring or summer 2012, the 2.0 TSI.  A five-speed manual shift is standard, and the turbo will be available with dual-clutch automatic shift.  Prices for the 1.2 TSI that goes on sale in early 2012 start at around £14,900.