Currently reading: New VW Beetle chases Mini
Due on sale next year; much-improved dynamics; 210bhp range-topper

A second generation of Volkswagen’s reborn Beetle will be launched next year with more focus on dynamics and less on retro styling.

To be previewed as a concept at the Los Angeles motor show in November, the production Beetle will go on sale in the UK in May 2011. A cabriolet will follow about a year later.

As with today’s Beetle, the car will be assembled at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico, alongside the next Jetta. The two cars share their front-drive underpinnings and some driveline combinations.

This gives the Beetle a reworked chassis with wider tracks and a longer wheelbase than today’s model. Insiders are confident it will better the current Beetle’s dynamics, with a more compliant ride.

Suspension is MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. However, the 210bhp 2.0-litre range-topper will have a multi-link rear to improve handling.

We’ve yet to see how VW’s design team has chosen to update the Beetle, but sources close to design boss Klaus Bischoff indicate that the 2005 Ragster concept provides hints.

Describing the new car’s design, one VW insider said, “It is more contoured, with additional structuring and defined feature lines used to help to break up the simple surfacing and unadorned character of the current model.”

The new Beetle will have a similar roofline to the Ragster’s. “The screen angles are less extreme and the roof structure is less rounded than it is at the moment,” said our source.

But much of the design will continue to draw heavily on the original Beetle, with rounded headlights and tail-lamps, separate wings over each wheel and a high waistline.

Volkswagen has also developed a much wider range of exterior options for the Beetle. “We’ve recognised the need to provide buyers with the opportunity to individualise their cars,” said our source. “This is especially important on the Beetle.”

In response to criticism of the Beetle’s packaging - particularly the depth of the dashboard and the lack of rear space - VW has thoroughly reworked the interior. The wider tracks and longer wheelbase increase space, but a lower roof reduces head room. Boot capacity will rise, to a nominal 250 litres.

Engines will include a 105bhp 1.2, a 160bhp 1.4 and a 210bhp 2.0 litre. A US-bound 170bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder is not destined for Europe. Diesels will include the new 105bhp 1.6 and a 140bhp 2.0 litre.

A hybrid is also planned, with a similar drivetrain to that of the Jetta CC from this year’s Detroit show: a 150bhp turbocharged/supercharged 1.4 with a 27bhp electric motor.


Read our review

Car review

The Volkswagen Beetle is only the third all-new model since the original launched in 1938. It is based on the Mk6 Golf, but the base car is far better

Back to top

Join the debate

Add a comment…
every thing you... 21 March 2010

Re: New VW Beetle chases Mini

I'm all for individualism and choice and that's my point really. It's just disappointing that they could'nt have done more than rebody a golf with pastiche styling and a vase. Again.

The whole retro thing has become identikit if you ask me, but I suppose If people like them then let them have their cake.

GaryW 21 March 2010

Re: New VW Beetle chases Mini

VX220EDDIE wrote:

inthebin wrote:
The new beetle has been a joke of a car. And always will be. It only sells because there are idiots out there that know nothing about cars and think they are cool.
i couldnt have said it better myself there are no features about this car that make it worth buying infact i'm surprised vw have not scrapped the whole idea

Absolutely right. The roads would be a better place if everyone drove a silver Euro/Asian clone hatchback - who needs colour and something that looks different? Seriously, it's not my kind of car but at least it stands out from the dreary ranks of identikit cars cluttering the roads.

J400uk 20 March 2010

Re: New VW Beetle chases Mini

Is it just me or are the constant 500, MINI and Beetle comparions very unfair?

The 500 is a A-segment city car, like a Ka, Aygo or Panda

The MINI is a B-segment supermini, like the MiTo, Polo and DS3

The Beetle is a C-segment small family car like the Golf, Focus and C4.

The above is backed up if you compare the wheelbases, and note the fact a 500 is based on a Panda and Beetle on a Golf (aka Jetta).

Although they are all 'retro', none of them are direct rivals IMO