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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Volkswagen Beetle has arrived in Australia, launching exactly 60 years after the original ‘people’s car’ first landed on our shores in 1953.

Dubbed the ’21st century Beetle’, the third-generation Mexican-built hatchback enters the market as a belated replacement for the New Beetle that first launched in 2000 and was discontinued in 2011.

The new Volkswagen Beetle range is a simple one, with just one engine and two transmission options, and prices ranging from $29,990 to $32,490.

Under the bonnet sits a 118kW/240Nm twin-charged (turbocharged and supercharged) 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – familiar from the Volkswagen Golf and a number of other Volkswagen Group models. Paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission it consumes 6.8 litres of premium unleaded per 100km and 6.4L/100km with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG). Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes 8.3 seconds, regardless of the transmission.

At 4278mm long, 1808mm wide, 1477mm tall and riding on a 2524mm wheelbase, the new Volkswagen Beetle is 149mm longer, 87mm wider and 21mm lower than the previous-generation Bug, as well as 8mm longer between the wheels (the new model shares its PQ35 platform with the outgoing Golf Mk6). With the windscreen shifted back and the roofline extended the designers have created more space inside the four-seat cabin, and also increased boot capacity from 209 litres to 310L.

Standard exterior kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels (with space saver spare), front foglights, front and rear parking sensors, tinted windows, black diffuser with twin chrome tailpipes, and a rear spoiler.

Sporting a striking body-coloured dashboard, the Beetle’s cabin is equipped with cruise control, dual-zone climate control, auto wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, cloth upholstery, 50:50 split fold rear seats, and an eight-speaker audio system with 6.5-inch touchscreen display, six-disc CD stacker, AUX/USB/SD card inputs, and Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming.

The Beetle’s five-star ANCAP-rated safety package includes four airbags (dual front and sides) and electronic stability control, along with a number of other active and passive systems.

The $2700 Technology Package adds bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED rear number plate illumination, electric folding mirrors, push-button start, and a low tyre pressure indicator.

The $1800 Sport Package features larger 18-inch ‘Twister’ alloys, dark-tinted windows, steering wheel paddle shifters (DSG only), and boost pressure, oil temperature and stopwatch gauges on the dashboard.

Other major options include satellite navigation ($2500), straight black or black and red leather upholstery ($3500) and a panoramic sunroof ($1700).

Volkswagen Australia has also secured 200 special Beetle Fender Edition cars for our market. The limited edition models, which pay homage to the legendary American musical equipment company, will arrive in showrooms from late May with a $34,490 price tag – $2000 more than the DSG model on which all will be based.

Unique to the Beetle Fender’s exterior are 18-inch ‘Disc’ alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, chrome mirror covers, Beetle badging on the tailgate and Fender nameplates along the sides.

The cabin scores a ‘Sunburst’ guitar-inspired dashboard, brown stitching, cloth/leatherette upholstery, three-colour ambience lighting and a Fender premium audio system with eight speakers and a subwoofer.

The Volkswagen Beetle Fender is available exclusively in Deep Black pearl-effect paint.

Volkswagen Australia has also announced a capped-price servicing program for the Beetle, following in the footsteps of the Volkswagen Up! city car. The maximum cost of the first six services (which covers 90,000km or six years) is $2623, with the price of individual services ranging from $375 to $638.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle manufacturer’s list prices:

  • Beetle six-speed manual – $29,990
  • Beetle seven-speed DSG – $32,490
  • Beetle Fender Edition seven-speed DSG – $34,490



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