Everyone enjoys the shape of the new Volkswagen Beetle - be they fans of muscle cars or those who simply like all things retro

Everyone enjoys the shape of the new Volkswagen Beetle – be they fans of muscle cars or those who simply like all things retro

Where else to gain public opinions on the latest VW Beetle than at a place called Ferry Road Diner on the Gold Coast? It’s a well known meeting place on Friday nights for all things retro, mainly those on four wheels. The diner has a carpark the size of a drive-in movie theatre. Perfect for those who like to drive and to admire each others’ cars.

We rocked up in a new VeeDub Beetle, bright red in colour and sporting a great set of 18-inch twister alloy wheels. And found ourselves sharing parking space with thumping Chevys, A-Model Fords, an Excalibur, and a couple of Cadillacs. As about the only car under the age of 40 years, our Beetle stood out like a bright red sore thumb. It delighted us in getting more than its fair share of admirers.

The next day we went to the supermarket and again the Beetle attracted plenty of lookers … all of them smiling, with quite a few wanting to talk to us about the new shape.

The first New Beetle looked cute and feminine. The new model (simply called the Beetle, the ‘New’ has gone) has a wider-stance lower roof and longer body that allowed designers to replace cute with curve. The roof extends further back and it’s now a better proportioned car.

The benefits include an increase in boot capacity from 209 litres up to 310 litres. Fold the seats down and it leaps to 910 litres. This is a coupe rather than a hatchback so is a car for singles or couples, not really being suited to family use.

The cabin will also bring a smile to most people’s faces. The colour matches whatever exterior you select and in our test car that was bright red where it matters, on the doors and across the 1950’s style dashboard. New VW Beetle has a large speedo in front of the driver in a separate binnacle. It’s easy to read at a slightest glance and revives memories of the old air-cooled cars.

Tilt and reach steering is standard and we had no trouble finding a comfortable driving position – something that couldn’t be said about the old New Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetle for 2013 comes with one powertrain only at this stage. It’s a 1.4-litre Twin-charged petrol engine with 118 kW of power and 240Nm of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, or a seven-speed DSG automatic at a $2500 premium. Our test car was the auto.

It’s a modest-performing car, though you wouldn’t describe it as a slouch. The DSG can be a little slow and catchy at slow speeds as are many other double-clutch automated manuals.

Anticipate other engines to come later, probably with powerplants borrowed from the yet to be announced VW Golf GTi.

Ride comfort is good on most surfaces and the slightly firm suspension provides the sort of handling that keen drivers will appreciate.

A sports coupe it’s not, but the 2013 Beetle will be given the nod by all but full-on revheads.

VW offer two option packages with the Beetle. One is a technology package that includes Bi-Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, keyless access, power folding external mirrors and low pressure tyre indicators.

Our test Beetle was fitted with the sports package: 18-inch `Twister’ alloy wheels, tinted side and rear windows, sports instruments on the dash centre and paddle gearshift paddles with the DSG.

The 2013 Beetle has a five-star safety rating from Australasian NCAP thanks to standard stability program, four airbags and a tough laser-welded and galvanised body that has a high torsional rigidity. The car feels strong and solid in the Volkswagen tradition.


Beetle 1.4 TSI five-door hatch: $29,990 (manual), $32,490 (DSG automatic)
Beetle Fender 1.4 TSI five-door hatch: $34,490 (DSG automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for drive-away prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard
Automatic Transmission: $3500 option
Cruise Control: Standard
Dual Front Airbags: Standard
Front Side Airbags: Standard
Electronic Stability Program: Standard
Rear Parking sensors: Standard
Reversing Camera: Not offered
USB/Auxiliary Audio inputs: Sstandard
Bluetooth: Standard
Steering wheel mounted controls: Standard

SPECIFICATIONS Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI five-door hatch )

Capacity: 1.390 litres
Configuration: inline four
Compression Ratio: 10:1
Bore/Stroke: 76.5 mm x 75.6 mm
Maximum Power: 118 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1500 – 4500 rpm

Driven Wheels: front
Manual Transmission: 6-speed
Automatic Transmission: 7-speed DSG

Length: 4278 mm
Wheelbase: 2524 mm
Width: 1808 mm
Height: 1477 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1306 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Towing Ability: 1800 kg with braked trailer)

Front Suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs
Rear Suspension: Torsion beam axle coils springs
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc

0-100 km/h Acceleration: 8.3 seconds

Type: 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 7.9 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 7.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

3 years/ unlimited km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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