The original is back
The first generation Beetle is one of the most successful cars ever with over 21.5 million units sold since it was first introduced in 1938. The first generation Beetle was one of the first Volkswagen cars to be built at the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in 1951. The first generation Beetle was the best-selling car in South Africa for 11 years of its 28 years existence. The 21st Century Beetle is now making its way to the South African market to re-ignite the passion of the original Beetle.
Beetle shaped people’s consciousness
The Beetle has always held a special place in people‟s hearts. Over the years, it has shaped people‟s collective consciousness. Children painted a Beetle when they painted a car. It embodied the philosophy of “People‟s car‟ for its affordability and popularity in South Africa.
New Beetle produced a car cult
Then the New Beetle debuted in the late 1990s. It brought with it Beetle Mania and a new automotive exuberance. The original Beetle wrote history as the car that moved the masses; the New Beetle offered a certain lifestyle, and it sold over one million units worldwide. By the dawn of the new millennium, it had become clear: the classic car, whether a Beetle or New Beetle, and whether it was from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s, had become a cult car. Furthermore, the various generations of the Beetle reflected what is certainly the most recognisable automotive design in the world, a design that continues to win over the hearts of people of all generations.
The 21st Century Beetle as the icon of a new era
Those who want to drive a car that offers dynamic performance provides lots of space and masters everyday tasks and long journeys will in the future think of the 21st Century Beetle. This should be noted straight away because dynamic performance alone no longer suffices. At 5.9 litres/100km (1.2 TSI 77kW), the new car is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever.
Design of the original, re-interpreted
Coke bottle, iPhone, Ray Ban Aviator, Leica M9, Beetle – how do you reinvent a design that is so recognisable and independent? There is a clear answer to this: you can only do it if you understand the product and the brand. Volkswagen Design Chief Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) “understand” both. Therefore they set this as the objective for the Beetle: “Design a new original!” And that is how the design of the 21st Century Beetle came to be in Wolfsburg – a car of today, as well as a design tribute to the automotive seed of an entire corporate group.
If one were to take the first generation Beetle and the new Beetle, place them together with a shining light over their roofs and viewing them from the side. One would notice that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical.
Dynamics in the style of the Ragster
A comparison to the second generation Beetle shows that nothing remained as it was on the previous model. “The Beetle is now characterised by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front bonnet is longer, the front windscreen is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. All of this creates a new dynamism,” explains Klaus Bischoff.
The roof profile actually runs distinctly lower and can be considered a continuation of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005 – a type of hot rod based on the New Beetle. The latest generation Beetle is bolder, more dynamic and masculine.
Entirely new proportions
The figures confirm this: the new one is 1,808 mm wide (84 mm wider vs second generation Beetle), 1,486 mm high (12 mm lower vs second generation Beetle) and 4,278 mm long (152 mm longer vs second generation Beetle). This has resulted in entirely new proportions. The gain in length means that the roof could be extended further, the front windscreen could be shifted back and the rear section could follow the contour of the original Beetle. The new focal point is the C-pillar. In parallel, the development team increased the car‟s track widths (front: 1,578 mm with gain of 63 mm; rear: 1,544 mm with gain 49 mm) and wheelbase (2,537 mm with gain of 22 mm). All of this gives the Beetle a powerful appearance with muscular tension.
New equipment lines
Volkswagen South Africa will launch the 21st Century Beetle in two new equipment lines, “Design” and “Sport”.
Interior shows character
This is especially noticeable on the dashboard. The shape and use of colour in the painted or carbon-look front facia panel (“dash pad”) hark back to the design of the first Beetle, yet the new car does not have a retro look. The panel in the “Design” equipment line matches the exterior body colour of the car. Customers choosing the “Sport” equipment line get a panel with carbon look, “Carbon Fibre”.
Return of the Beetle box and auxiliary instruments
Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox, “Beetle box” integrated in the front facia. The lid opens upward and the standard glovebox that is integrated with it opens downward.
Another classic feature is the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system. The cluster displays oil temperature, clock with chronometer function and boost pressure gauge. Also new is the steering wheel specially designed for the Beetle with painted accents in the spokes that differ depending on the equipment line.
It simply fits
A distinguishing feature of the contemporary Beetle is that its interior ergonomics and packaging are based on completely new parameters. While drivers in the air-cooled Beetle travelled in a very low-slung seat and drivers of the New Beetle could feel as if they were being chauffeured because the bonnet was so far forward. The 21st Century Beetle now offers a driving experience that is sportier. Every feature is within easy reach. In addition, Volkswagen has once again succeeded in implementing a quality of interior finish that goes beyond all class limits.
Plenty of space for four adults and luggage
The car‟s styling, ergonomics and quality interact to create a new, friendly car with a highly individual nature. In addition, it offers everyday practicality. Its space offers comfort to four adults especially on long journeys. The boot can handle up to 905 litres of luggage. The optional panoramic tilt/slide sunroof allows the sun to permeate and warm the car in winter. For audiophiles, the optional Fender sound system will keep them entertained with high quality sound. The Keyless Access system is available for the first time in the Beetle. It operates without a traditional door or ignition key.
Fuel efficient and dynamic engines
The new Beetle is offered in two TSI engines, 1.2 with 77kW and 1.4 with 118kW. These fuel efficient and dynamic engines are mated to 6-speed manual transmission. The 118kW is available with an optional 7-speed DSG transmission.
Key facts summary
Name: The Beetle
Equipment lines: “Beetle Design”, “Beetle Sport”
Power range: 77kW and 118kW
Combined minimum fuel consumption: 5.9 l/100 km (1.2 TSI)
Engine specifications: Petrol engines: TSI (petrol direct injection engines. All engines fulfil Euro-5 emissions standard)
Debut of original Beetle: 1938 (1951 in South Africa)
Debut of New Beetle: 1997 (2000 in South Africa)
Total units sold worldwide: 21.5 million
Total units produced in South Africa: 288 353
Designers: Walter de Silva (Group), Klaus Bischoff (Brand).
Exterior: Marc Lichte (team leader), Chris Lesmana, Nisan Kucam.
Interior: Tomasz Bachorski (team leader), Ingo Brückmann.
Colour and Trim: Oona Scheepers (team leader), Susanne Gerken.
Dimensions: 4,278 mm length, 1,808 mm width, 1,486 mm height, 2,537 mm wheelbase, 310 to 905 litres cargo capacity