Volkswagen rehashes iconic Beetle in Australia

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 11:30 hrs

Volkswagen Australia has rehashed its popular air-cooled icon from the 1950s, 60s and 70s with a vehicle it feels can sell on driving credentials, as well as the nostalgic feeling.

The same sales pitch was used for the first Beetle reinvention in 2000, but that car met with only a lukewarm response, attracting less than 10,000 buyers during a 12-year Australian lifespan, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

While the first 'new Beetle' never quite drew interest outside of VW romantics and a niche female demographic, this time round there is cause to believe the nameplate will arouse wider appeal, especially among male buyers, the paper said.

Volkswagen Australia has opted for a sole 1.4-litre TSI twin-charged petrol engine, producing 118kW of power and 240 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual or an optional 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), the paper added.

Volkswagen's chief executive, Anke Koeckler claimed their thinking is if it comes with a good engine, why not just go with the TSI?

Koeckler added they are always looking into the complexity of having too many engines, and in the end, they decided to go for one engine and two transmissions.

The turbocharger-supercharger combination accelerates the Beetle from zero to 100km/h in a brisk 6.8 seconds. Fuel economy is equally competitive, with claimed consumption figures of 6.4l/100km for DSG and 6.8l for manual, the paper reported.

The new Beetle is longer, wider and lower than the model it succeeds.

Volkswagen said the latest iteration would handle vastly better on the road too, thanks to a new suspension system combining a strut set-up at the front and semi-independent suspension at the rear, the paper said.

Inside, the Beetle comes standard with multifunction leather steering wheel, media device interface, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, parking sensors and power windows. (ANI)

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