Over the years, I’ve become a huge fan of the Volkswagen Beetle. I think my love of the MINI Cooper has always made me shy away from the Beetle (because you can only love ONE quirky car at a time, right?!), but after driving a number of different versions of the Bug, I’ve got to say: this thing has definitely grown on me.
There’s definitely something alluring about the little hatchback, and this latest special edition bumps it up a few notches on the attraction scale, mostly because it marks a return to its roots -- at least in terms of exterior styling. Its fun-to-drive nature only adds to the allure and the strong bond I feel myself forming with the VW Beetle.
A classic take on the look
Now you can get a Beetle that’ll stand out from the other Bugs in the parking lot, without a doubt. Not even when I drove the Beetle GSR did I garner as much attention as I did while I was in the Beetle Classic. And there’s a good reason: it really does look like the original from the ‘60s.
From the “whitewall” tires (which aren’t whitewall at all, but rather “Heritage” alloy wheels that give the illusion of whitewall tires -- only available on the Classic model) to the standard rear spoiler and special two-tone cloth and leatherette interior, this Beetle is truly a modern classic and catches the attention of those who grew up in the era with the real deal.
Let’s talk about the cloth/leatherette interior for a moment, because it’s so cool! Awesome grey-ish plaid inserts are matched with burnt orange leatherette for a classy, retrograde look that’s sure to impress your friends (and you) every time you take a seat in your Beetle. Combined with the exterior paint colours (silver, white, black or an era-specific “gold” silver), the interior is mint and one of my favourite aspects of the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic.
A modern take on the drive
While the 1975 VW Bug housed an air-cooled 1.6L 4-cylinder engine (with fuel injection for the first time) producing just 58 horsepower, this latest Beetle Classic banks on Volkwagen’s phenomenal 1.8L turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder, which is good for 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels, and controlled via a 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shift. While I lamented the absence of the fabulous DSG in my tester, I soon fell for the “generic” 6-speed unit as the gear ratios are so well mapped out, and the little Bug boogied beautifully regardless of what I asked of it.
In typical German fashion, everything about the Volkswagen Beetle is concise and precise -- save for the brakes. I’m not sure what the problem with the Beetle is, but the brakes never really seem up to par. Much too squishy and just not grabby enough, I’m always a bit shocked when I get into the Beetle and have to readjust my driving habits to make sure I brake in time.
Notwithstanding the mushy brakes, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic really was a lot of fun to drive. The turbo spool is audible, and come on: how can you not have a smile plastered on your face when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle that looks this way?
The Beetle Classic gets those second looks
Sure, it’s no Porsche 911 Targa, but the VW Beetle Classic gets some serious attention on the road! With all the retro touches, curious bystanders approached me on more than one occasion including people who had owned a Beetle they claimed looked exactly like this one only 50 years prior.
I loved seeing the nostalgia in their eyes, hearing them comment on the “whitewall” wheels and reminisce about their time with their own Beetle (and we all have a Beetle story!).
That, right there, is a huge part of the Beetle Classic’s allure: nostalgia. Essentially, this is a base Beetle (with some aesthetic tweaks), but it makes that much more of a statement and brings back those awesome Bug memories from our childhoods. Plus, it’s a blast to drive!
Unique to a fault
Unfortunately, being “different” might just hinder the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic. Just like the MINI Cooper, Fiat 500, and Nissan JUKE (to a certain extent), it offers something unique in terms of design and performance, and it takes a special buyer to scoop one up.
With a base MSRP of just over $21,000, the 2015 Beetle Classic is perfectly priced to compete with its unique competition. Of course, my love still lies with the MINI Cooper (and now with an extra set of doors it becomes just a tad more practical than the Beetle), but then it comes down to a matter of personal style. And truthfully, the Beetle Classic has a ton of personal style, which is what made me fall for it a little bit more after a week behind the wheel.
Yup, this one’s growing on me.