Volkswagen Beetle is back with big, bad 2012 model

James Raia

Sixty-three years after its iconic legacy began, the Volkswagen Beetle is back. The 2012 edition, the third generation of one of the best-selling cars in history, is debuting simultaneously this week in media days at the New York Auto Show, Shanghai Auto Show and Berlin Auto Show.

Launched in the U.S. in 1949, the car has had two distinct tenures. It in first 30 years, more than five million were sold in the United Sates until it was discontinued in 1979.

The second generation Beetle sold just under 500,000 units in the U.S. from 1998-2010, increasing to what Volkswagen reports is more than 22.5 million Beetles made globally.Volkswagen Beetle is back with big, bad 2012 model 1

According to Volkswagen, the third generation Beetle is “substantially wider, the front hood is longer, the front windshield is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline.”

By numbers, the 2012 Beetle is 3.3 inches wider than its predecessor and half an inch shorter in height. The body is also six inches longer.

In addition, the Beetle comes with a panoramic top 80 percent larger than the previous option, and offers both a turbo-charged TDI Clean Diesel and turbo-charged gasoline engines.

The new edition will be available with three engines: a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter gasoline five-cylinder engine, a 140-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine and a 200-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI turbocharged gasoline engine.Volkswagen Beetle is back with big, bad 2012 model 2

The Clean Diesel engine will offering 40 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in city driving.

Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic on 2.5-liter models. The DSG six-speed dual-clutch transmission will be an option on the TDI and 2.0-liter TSI models.

An extra glovebox integrated into the dash and a split-folding rear seat are also standard for the new model, and a navigation system is an option for the first time.

The 2012 Beetle arrives in North America first in September or October, followed by its launch in Europe in October and in Asia in February 2012.

Article Last Updated: April 18, 2011.

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