The new Volkswagen Beetle is a two-door, small family car, strongly inspired by the exterior design of the original Beetle. Unlike the original Beetle, the New Beetle is designed with the engine in front, as a front-wheel drive vehicle, with storage in the rear. Wildly popular from its outset, the beloved New Bug" kicked off the trend of retro-futurist design.
The New Beetle was designed at Volkswagen's California studio by J. Mays and Freeman Thomas. It was assembled in New Mexico at the company's Puebla factory. The vehicle currently comes with a 2.5L I5 engine offering 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The car seats a total of 4, and can be equipped with either a 5 speed manual transmission or a 6 speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy averages 20 mpg city, and 28 mpg highway. The car offers great maneuverability, but is not considered fast. Its best quality is its friendly, eye-catching shape.
The New Beetle concept car was unveiled in 1994, to overwhelming enthusiasm. The New Beetle was launched four years later in 1998. It shared much of the platform and inner workings of the Volkswagen Golf, but its new retro exterior made it an immediate hit. In 2002, the Turbo S New Beetle arrived. It was marketed as a sportier Beetle and had a 1.8T turbocharged engine, offering 180 horsepower. In 2003, the New Beetle Cabriolet, a popular convertible version, made its appearance on the car scene. In 2005, the New Beetle Ragster concept car was introduced, sporting a lower roof line and more aggressive look than its predecessor. The final edition of the first generation new Beetle was produced in 2010.
A second generation New Beetle is being developed for 2012. It will be built on the same A5 platform as the new Volkswagen Jetta. It will retain the original Beetle's basic shape, with sportier styling.
Included among the New Beetle's standard interior features are V-Tex leatherette seat trim, heated front seats, Sirius satellite radio, and an auxiliary input jack. The few optional features include a six-disc CD changer, iPod adaptor, and power sunroof. Cabin and storage space are somewhat limited. The coupe model has 12 cubic feet of cargo space while all seats are in use. Its rear seats will fold down to provide a total of 27 cubic feet of storage space. However, the convertible offers only 5 cubic feet of cargo space, and its rear seats do not fold down.
The New Beetle was named "Import Car of the Year" by Motortrend in 1999. It was also named Volkswagen's "Best Fleet Value in America" by Vincentric in 2007.
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