With the introduction of its new 2012 Beetle
, Volkswagen is hoping to drop the cutesy hatch’s “chick car” descriptor and lure more male buyers.
In fact, Volkswagen has set itself a target to increase the percentage of male Beetle buyers from a low 36 percent for the previous generation New Beetle to 59 percent for the new 2012 model.
Accordingly, this third generation of the People’s Car has been given a serious dose of testosterone and has actually spawned a high-performance turbo model.
With a turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI engine sending 197 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque through to the front wheels via Volkswagen’s XDS electronic differential and either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo could best be described as a Golf GTI in cuter wrapping.
However, the suspension and steering has been tuned more for comfort in the Beetle rather than outright performance and this shows in the driving performance.
Nevertheless, you can still drop the hammer with the steering wheel locked and the car will continue on its directed path with only a small squeak from its tires.
The XDS system, which can adjust the level of torque being sent to either of the wheels, does its job well. Additionally, the Beetle Turbo also benefits from the Jetta GLI’s advanced multi-link independent rear suspension, with coil springs, telescopic dampers and another anti-roll bar, while the regular models make do with a basic torsion beam rear setup.
The Beetle Turbo’s brakes are better too, with 12.3-inch vented discs and red calipers on the front axle and 10-7-inch discs at the rear.
The 0-60 mph dash will take you less than 7.5 seconds and top speed is limited to 130 mph.
When it comes to transmissions, the DSG is the pick of the bunch. It is unmatched when it comes to shift times and can become very addictive when you start running up and down the gears. Note, it can bog down a little when you’re moving off the line but it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing right foot to the floor starts all the time.
Another gripe is the electric steering system, which helps to save fuel but can feel a bit too artificial when the cornering gets fast.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with the Beetle Turbo, which at $24,165
(including destination), we think is a decent buy if you want something a little sporty but not too serious.
For a more in depth review of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo, as well as the rest of the new Beetle range, check out the review at our sister site TheCarConnection