Bugging out in Berlin

2012 Volkswagen Beetle First Impressions

2012 Volkswagen Beetle First Impressions
BERLIN, Germany—History isn't something we auto journalists often talk about. Sure, the history of the automobile is fascinating and the reason we are where we are today in the market, but it's the future we look to most often. Well, this week I took a step back in time with Volkswagen, and I'm sure glad I did.

Stronger lines, more-aggressive wheel wells and a sharper roofline up the windshield harkened back to the Beetle’s beginnings. (Photo: Miranda Lightstone/Auto123.com)

First appearing in 1938, the VW Type 1 cabriolet would start a revolution in the automotive world as the “People's Car” while the rest of the planet went to war. It was under these trying and restless times that Volkswagen created one of the most influential and recognizable cars in the history of automobiles: the Beetle.

At the time, it wasn’t known as the Beetle at all, simply the Type 1 followed by the Type 2. It was other countries’ nicknames for the little car (Coccinelle, Beetle, Bug, Maggiolino, etc.) with all the attitude that caused VW to take note and name their personality-filled ride the Beetle.

I could wax on for paragraphs about the Beetle's history, but I'll save that for an upcoming article next week; instead I want to focus on the 2012 version, dubbed The Beetle, that I've been putzing around Berlin, Germany in today.

The Beetle—which can no longer be referred to as the “new” Beetle because the New Beetle is the previous generation and so should be called The Beetle only or the 2012 Beetle (following?)—now offers a look that's decidedly more masculine. They've ditched the rounded, girlie silhouette and the flowers on the dash (thankfully) and replaced it with a vehicle that's got some grunt and attitude on the road.

Look at a Beetle standing still, and you'll agree that the new design is much more substantial, commanding a bit more respect on the road than the previous New Beetle. Now it looks solid, reliable and a bit modern. Whereas before it was just, well, cute. Stronger lines, more-aggressive wheel wells and a sharper roofline up the windshield harkened back to the Beetle’s beginnings, and there’s definitely a retro sense mixed in with all the modern.

Under the newly-sculpted hood rests an all-new engine as well—in fact, 2 all-new engines. The 2012 Beetle will be offered with a standard 2.5L 5-cylinder good for 170 hp and a 2.0L TSI turbocharged engine pushing out 200 hp.

The 2012 Beetle will be offered with a standard 2.5L 5-cylinder good for 170 hp and a 2.0L TSI turbocharged engine pushing out 200 hp. (Photo: Miranda Lightstone/Auto123.com)

By Miranda Lightstone,

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