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2011 in Europe and NA, then in 2012 in Asia and South America 
2012 Beetle debut in Asia, N.A. and Europe
Larger with coupé-like style and more options

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: front view.

2012 VW Beetle: design of a new... original.

26 April 2011: Seventy three years after the birth of the first Beetle in 1938, and thirteen other years since the rebirth of the name with what was called "The New Beetle" in 1998, time has come now for an all-new, 2012 VW Beetle (see also the Volkswagen Beetle R Concept design study).

This time, the third generation, 2012 model will be referred to as the Beetle, again, since the 1998 model added the "New" badge to emphasise the "completely new" technical identity of the car.

The German heritage, which became an international brand, is far from common: the first Volkswagen ("people's car" in English) sold no less than 21.5 million units around the world, in addition to more than one million New Beetle between 1998 and 2010.

2012 VW Beetle 

  Debut of original Beetle: 1938 (Gen. I)

  Debut of New Beetle: 1998 (Gen II)

  Total units built to date: + 22.5 million

  Market launch of the 2012 Beetle (Gen III)
- North America: September / October 2011
- Europe: October / November 2011
- Asia: February 2012
- South America: late 2012 / early 2013

  Equipment lines "Beetle", "Design", "Sport"

  Exterior dimensions: 4,278 mm length, 1,808 mm
width, 1,486 mm height, 2,537 mm wheelbase.

  Cargo capacity: 310 litres (10.95 cu. foot).

Source: VW AG. * Features and technical data apply to models offered in Germany and may differ in other countries. All fuel consumption and driving performance data is preliminary data (forecast values as of March 2011).

That's why the all-new 2012 VW Beetle has rather logically celebrated a transcontinental world debut this month – simultaneously in Asia (Shanghai), Europe (Berlin) and North America (New York).

With such a background, Volkswagen Design Chief Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) set the objective for the Beetle: "Design a new original!"

Bolder and more dynamic, the 2012 Beetle has a lower profile and is substantially wider. The front bonnet is longer and the front windscreen is shifted further back with a much steeper incline.

While the 1998 New Beetle was defined by three semi-circles (front wing, rear wing, domed roof above it), the new 2012 model has a roof profile running lower and can be considered a continuation of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005.


Compared to the 1998 New Beetle, the new 2012 Beetle has new proportions: it is 1,808 mm wide (84 mm wider than the 1998 Beetle), 1,486 mm tall (12 mm lower) and 4,278 mm long (152 mm longer). The development team increased the car’s track widths and wheelbase. All of this gives a powerful appearance with muscular tension, especially with new features such as the optional bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights (available for the first time in this model series), the rear spoiler that is integrated in the design (standard for TSI engines with 118 kW / 160 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS).

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: rear view.

The rear spoiler is integrated in the design.

The new Beetle will be available in three equipment lines "Beetle", "Design" and "Sport". The top surface of the rear spoiler is always black, while its underside is painted in body colour.


The shape and use of colour in the painted or carbon-look front facia panel of the dashboard hark back to the design of the first Beetle, without going into the retro game. In Europe, this facia is styled in "Schwarz uni" (Black) on the base model ("Beetle"); in the "Design" equipment line, it is always painted in the specific exterior colour. The "Sport" level comes with the carbon look ("Carbon Fibre").

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: profile view.

Longer front bonnet, front windscreen is shifted further back.

Three round instruments are arranged in front of the driver: the tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge, with all key information; integrated in the speedometer (middle position) is a multifunction display. From the "Design" equipment level, the adjustable air vents and the instruments have chrome bezels. This also applies to the audio/navigation systems located on the dashboard, framed by two air vents. This also includes the controls for the climate control system.

Like the original Beetle, the new model has an extra glovebox integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward (the standard glovebox that is also integrated opens downward).

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: instruments, steering wheel and navigation monitor view.

Optional instruments above the selected audio/nav system.

Another classic feature: the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system: oil temperature, clock with stopwatch function and boost pressure gauge. Also new: the steering wheels specially designed for the Beetle with optional painted accents in the spokes depending on the equipment line.

While drivers in the classic air-cooled Beetle travelled in a very low-slung seat, and drivers of the 2nd generation New Beetle felt as if they were chauffeured because the bonnet was so far forward, the 2012 Beetle offers a driver-oriented coupé experience. In front, it is now somewhat lower in profile, since the domed roof of its predecessor has been eliminated. It now offers 1,044 mm interior height instead of the previous 1,082 mm. Meanwhile, in the rear seating area, the longer roof section results in a larger feeling of space.

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: interior view with front seats and dashboard.

The new Beetle now offers a driver-oriented coupé experience.

The bootspace is now larger, with 310 instead of 209 litres, with a split, folding rear seatback, and a wide opening bootlid.


US diesel with 140 PS / 138 bhp. In the USA, the Beetle will be offered as a turbodiesel for the first time. The Beetle 2.0 TDI (103 kW / 140 PS / 138 bhp) meets all USA emission limits and attains 40* US mpg (48 UK mpg, 5.88 litre/100km, 17 kms/litre - all conversions are based on figures) fuel economy in the highway cycle, 29 US mpg (34.8 UK mpg, 8.11 litre/100km, 12.33 kms/litre) in city driving, and 33 US mpg (39.6 UK mpg, 7.13 litre/100km, 14 kms/litre) combined. This version comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox (available with an optional 6-speed dual clutch transmission).

2012 VW Beetle engines 

  Engine power range
77kW / 105PS / 103.5bhp to 147kW / 200PS / 197bhp

  Lowest fuel consumption (combined)
Europe: 4.3* l/100 km (1.6 TDI), equivalent to 54.7 US mpg, 65.65 UK mpg, 23.26 kms/litre.

  Fuel economy (combined)
USA: 33 mpg* (2.0 TDI), equivalent to 39.6 UK mpg, 7.13 litre/100km, 14 kms/litre 

  Engine specifications All petrol engines are charged TSI engines (except 2.5-litre engine for USA); all diesels are new common rail TDI engines; all engines meet Euro-5 emissions standard; all US engines fulfil BIN5 / ULEV PZEV

Source: VW AG. * Features and technical data apply to models offered in Germany and may differ in other countries. All fuel consumption and driving performance data is preliminary data (forecast values as of March 2011).

US petrol engines with 170 PS (168 bhp) and 200 PS (197 bhp). Fuel economy values were also improved in the 2.5-litre five cylinder petrol engine. The manually shifted Beetle attains 22 US mpg (26.4 UK mpg, 10.7 litre/100km, 9.35 kms/litre, City), 31 US mpg (37.23 UK mpg, 7.6 litre/100km, 13.18 kms/litre, Highway) and 25 US mpg (30 UK mpg, 9.4 litre/100km, 10.6 kms/litre, combined).

Its counterpart with a 6-speed automatic comes in at 22 US mpg (26.4 UK mpg, 10.7 litre/100km, 9.35 kms/litre, City), 29 US mpg (34.8 UK mpg, 8.11 litre/100km, 12.33 kms/litre, Highway) and 25 US mpg (30 UK mpg, 9.4 litre/100km, 10.6 kms/litre, combined) – representing an increase of up to 10 percent in fuel economy.

The Beetle 2.0 TSI with 147 kW / 200 PS / 197 bhp of power attains a combined fuel economy of 25 US mpg (30 UK mpg, 9.4 litre/100km, 10.6 kms/litre). The large TSI is also available with an optional 6-speed DSG.

World engines with 105 PS (103.5 bhp), 140 PS (138 bhp), 160 PS (158 bhp) and 200 PS (197 bhp). In Asia, Australia, Europe and New Zealand, the new Beetle will be offered exclusively with charged engines. All engine versions – all of them with four cylinders – are being used for the first time in this model series, with reduced fuel consumption and emission values compared to the previous model thanks to the switch to turbo-petrol (TSI) and common rail turbodiesel direct injection engines (TDI).

The three charged petrol engines of the Beetle output 77 kW / 105 PS, 118 kW / 160 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS. The two diesel engines develop 77 kW / 105 PS and 103 kW / 140 PS (TDI engines are not offered in China). All five engines may be combined with a dual clutch transmission as an option.

The 225 km/h (139.8 mph) Beetle 2.0 TSI with 200 PS of power consumes 7.4 l/100 km (31.8 US mpg, 38.15 UK mpg, 13.5 kms/litre, equivalent to 173 g/km CO2) with a manual transmission. The 1.4 TSI with 160 PS shifted by a 7-speed DSG (top speed: 207 km/h, 128.6 mph) consumes 5.9 l/100 km (39.9 US mpg, 47.85 UK mpg, 16.95 kms/litre, 139 g/km CO2). By comparison, the previous model with 110 kW / 150 PS / 147.5 bhp attained a value of 8.9 l/100 km  in the automatic version (26.43 US mpg, 31.72 UK mpg, 11.24 kms/litre). Despite 10 PS more power, fuel consumption was reduced by 34 percent.

The models with 160 PS (European version) and 200 PS (worldwide) come with a factory-installed XDS electronic differential lock. This system extends the familiar EDS functionality. XDS improves handling in fast curve driving and calibrates the car toward more "neutral" steering; it does this by using active brake intervention to prevent wheelspin of the unloaded wheel on the inside of the curve.

The most fuel-efficient petrol engined model is the Beetle 1.2 TSI with BlueMotion Technology (including Stop/Start system and battery regeneration) and 105 PS with a top speed of 180 km/h (111.8 mph). It has a combined fuel consumption of 5.5 l/100 km (42.77 US mpg, 51.33 UK mpg, 18.18 kms/litre, 129 g/km CO2).

The comparable previous model (75 kW / 102 PS / 100.58 bhp) consumed 7.5 l/100 km (31.36 US mpg, 37.64 UK mpg, 13.33 kms/litre).

The Beetle 1.6 TDI with 105 PS, comes at 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 US mpg, 65.65 UK mpg, 23.26 kms/litre, equivalent to 112 g/km CO2), this diesel version is the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever built with BlueMotion Technology. Its fuel consumption is 20 percent lower than even the existing TDI engines. On the Autobahn, the new Beetle 1.6 TDI with BlueMotion Technology can reach a top speed of 180 km/h (111.8 mph). The higher performance TDI with 2.0 litre displacement and 103 kW / 140 PS (320 Nm from 1,750 rpm) takes the Beetle to a top speed of 198 km/h (123 mph) and combined fuel consumption of 4.9 l/100 km (48 US mpg, 57.6 UK mpg, 20.4 kms/litre, equivalent to 129 g/km CO2).


The 2012 Beetle will be available worldwide in the three equipment lines "Beetle", "Design" and "Sport". Each of these versions has its character. Individual markets will emphasise certain aspects. Volkswagen will announce individual parameters of these customisation levels at a later date. The ESP electronic stabilisation programme is standard, as are the six airbags (all features and technical data apply to models offered in Germany. They may differ in other countries).

All-new 2012 VW Beetle: front seat view.

The new Beetle can be customised with optional features.

The Beetle can be customised with optional features, such as:

Bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights. 15 LEDs frame the xenon module on the outer perimeters of the headlights; they implement the daytime running lights and parking lights.

Panoramic roof ( can be tilted or opened). It is 80 percent larger (glass surface area) than on the previous model. The insulating glass blocks 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy.

Radio-CD and radio-navigation systems. The 2nd generation New Beetle was exclusively available with radio-CD systems specially designed for it. No navigation systems were offered. Now, Volkswagen is offering all of the systems available in other model series such as the Golf, Jetta or Passat on new Beetle as well. Standard in the Beetle is the RCD 310 with 8 loudspeakers (includes dual tuner). The top audio system is the RCD 510 with integrated CD changer, interface for SD cards and touchscreen. The entry-level radio-navigation system is the RNS 315 with 5-inch touchscreen (400 x 240 pixel), CD player, SD card slot and dual tuner. The top radio-navigation system model is the RNS 510. It offers a 6.5-inch touchscreen, DVD player, voice control, SD card slot and 30 Gigabyte hard drive.

Premium sound system by Fender. The optional Fender sound system for the Beetle comes with an additional woofer and 400 Watts of output power. This sound system comes with adjustable interior ambiance lighting. Besides providing indirect illumination, it also includes two light rings around the loudspeaker boxes in the doors. In Europe, the Beetle is the first car to offer a Fender sound system.

Keyless Access. This option is appearing for the first time in the Beetle. When one of the front door handles is touched, the system detects access authorisation from a transmitter carried in the person’s jacket, trousers or hand bag; it then unlocks the Beetle and enables an engine start via the engine start button. Locking of the Volkswagen from the outside is also activated by touching one of the two door handles; in this case, however, a specially marked surface is used.

* Features and technical data apply to models offered in Germany and may differ in other countries. All fuel consumption and driving performance data is preliminary data (forecast values as of March 2011).


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