Volkswagen's third generation Beetle unveiled


April 18, 2011

Volkswagen's third generation Beetle

Volkswagen's third generation Beetle

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The new Volkswagen Beetle greeted audiences across the world in a truly global launch today. The "people's car" entered its third generation simultaneously in Shanghai, Berlin and New York, with 22.5 million units sold over 73 years. The new Beetle comes with a choice of three engines: a more fuel-efficient version of the 2.5L five cylinder petrol engine, a 2.0L TDI and a 2.0L TSI turbocharged petrol engine, the latter two offered with an optional six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.

The sporty 2.0L TSI also comes with an XDS cross (limited-slip) differential which electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of wheel spin, feeds additional torque to the wheels with most traction. The newest Beetle is 3.3 inches wider and six inches longer and will hit showrooms in North America in September, Europe in October and Asia next February.

In keeping with automotive trends, the new Beetle will be offered with an extensive range of personalization options, including a panoramic roof, extensive audio system choice (including a premium 400W system from Fender), and an annual theme model.

The transparent, panoramic tilt/slide glass sunroof is 80 percent larger than on the previous model with the insulating glass blocking 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy – at least this one won't cook you quite as thoroughly as many panoramic roof models.

The standard RCD 310 sound system comes with eight speakers while the optional RCD 510 comes with an integrated CD changer, an SD card slot and touchscreen. After three quarters of a century, the new Beetle is the first with an optional navigation system – the RNS 315 has a 5-inch touchscreen, CD player and SD card slot.

The top-of-the-line 400 watt Fender Premium Audio System offered is touted as "concert quality" and uses Panasonic directional sound speaker technology and adjustable interior ambiance lighting.

It's also the first time a Beetle has had keyless entry and Bi-xenon headlights. In its original air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration, the original Beetle became the longest-running single design automobile in history.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Is it just me or are Beetles really starting to look like Porsches (is that spelt correct)

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Fil Magnoli

It\'s turning into a 911 or a cross between a TT and 911.

Justin Scheller

It may be time to buy a V-Dub..

Gerald Bohmer Jr

Where the blue motion edition or electric one?


At last, an answer to the question \"What do you get when you cross a 2nd-generation Beetle with a PT Cruiser?\"


The original VW \"beetle\" was a revolutionary vehicle with dozens of remarkable innovations. This is a conventional vehicle, a non-revolutionary, non-innovative styling exercise. It\'s just marketing.

Where is the production 1L?

William Lanteigne

Isn\'t this really the 4th generation bug?

The 1968 version of the Beetle was substantially different from the cars that came before. Most noticeable were the changes to the bumpers, but there were also the highback seats, the interior trim, the hood and trunk shape and the shape of the rear lights. The 12 volt battery was introduced mid-year 1967, so that doesn\'t count.

Albert Sudonim

Looks great. My 1st VW was a 1964. The new one may have a regular back seat. Ferry Porsche\'s designs live on and on. I\'ll get in line for this new Beetle!!


If they want to make \"A People\'s Car\" It should be easy to work on, get great milage around town and sell for well under 10,000. Oh ya, and get rid of that dam plastic thermostat housing.


Yes, it does look like a Porsche, and I believe it is trying to compete with the BMW mini, by the looks of the specs.

I think it looks neat. It would be neat if it was a rear engined water cooled engine. :)


It is next to \'Phaeton\' big VW\'s marketing mistake. \"Beetle\" has gained great popularity because it was \"simple and honest\". It did exactly what was needed to customers: reliable and cost-effective transport. Instead of to resurrect a small cost-effective car that is so much asked by buyers, VW tries to sell off a much oil-thirstier and expensive car. It neither competes to Porsche as it has happened with \"Phaeton\" nor to \"Smart\" where it could succeed as small and fuel-efficient car. Probably, it was \"Beetle\'s\" last chance... What a pity:-(


its coolio

Peter Jensch

looks like an old Porsche from rear three-quarters! cute tho!

Deepak Parida

Is this designed by VW partner Porsche? Expected much much more.... So sad...anyway its VW, so accepted..


The Beetle is becoming to look like almost every vehicle on the road except for a few outer design features, and rather than a true people\'s car it is, as with the new Mini, a bloated fashion symbol of the better off who can afford it. Doesn\'t even have the character of the original. f1e5a9 As previous comments have stated, looking more like an upper market Porsche, and if that is the market they are trying to complete with then usre enough it\'s no longer a peoples car. The last new peoples car that VW introduced was the VW Gulf. Don\'t care for the style of that vehicle yet it did take off and become truely popular with the average people.The Beetle is going down another road and, personally, i have no interest.

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