2012 Volkswagen Beetle at the 2011 New York Auto Show


  • Competes with: Mini Cooper, Fiat 500
  • Looks like: The last New Beetle, but newer
  • Drivetrain: 170 hp, 2.5-liter five-cylinder with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic; 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 140-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine, both with six-speed dual-clutch transmissions.
  • Hits dealerships: September/October 2011

It’s difficult to redesign a car based on a classic. That’s probably why it’s taken Volkswagen more than a decade to update the New Beetle. The 2012 Beetle is new from the ground up, but it’s plain to see the design is evolutionary, with the trademark fender bulges and bug-eyed headlights still intact.

The interior gets a full overhaul as well. Unlike the outgoing Beetle, there doesn’t seem to be as much whimsy inside, with a more familiar resemblance to other recent VWs like the new Jetta and Passat.

Under the hood, U.S. drivers will get three engine options, which is again similar to the new Jetta lineup. There’s the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 22/31 mpg city/highway with a five-speed manual and 22/29 mpg with a six-speed automatic.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out 200 hp and get 30 mpg on the highway. That will be the sporty option.

The engine that will likely generate the most interest will be the 140-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine that makes 236 pounds-feet of torque. However, diesel fans will be surprised that this engine gets 29/40 mpg and 33 mpg combined in the 2012 Beetle, which is less than the Jetta TDI’s 30/42 mpg.

Still, the Beetle is more about style and history than topping the performance or fuel-economy spec sheets. To determine if it wins in that regard, look at all the pictures below or see it in person. We’ll have a firsthand report on the 2012 Beetle later today. Our New York International Auto Show coverage continues all week.


2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle


Beetle Lover

I love the new Beetle! The only part I do not like is that it does not get the rated 38 City/46 Highway MPG that the 2004 Beetle TDI that I has. Other than that I love it!!!!!!!!!


The window sticker mechanism has changed.
The 2004 Beetle is rated at 32/42 with the manual transmission & 30/38 with double clutch.

It was clear from the early spy shots that VW had blown this redesign. They needed a far more radical departure from the chicks-only first generation to attract the male customers who don't have a problem with such cute little hatchbacks as the Mini and Fiat 500. It doesn't even matter how it drives; as long as it still looks familiar -- new roofline aside -- it's not going to attract a wider market.

The familiar styling is probably even going to hurt it with female customers, as it doesn't add any new novelty factor over the car that was the thing to have 12 years ago and retains the lack of practicality.

Doug G

If you squint a little bit and look at it actually looks a little bit like an impreza wrx with those fender flares and the wide stance.


Trying to keep women happy while giving men who can't afford to buy a 911, Porsche and VW are quite closely intermingled and it shows(look at pictures of the two), an alternative doesn't quite work. They can't change the lines and really make it loos as aggressive as a 911 because that would cut into Porsche's sales. This half-hearted restyle doesn't cut it for me. As a guy, if I want a sporty VW, I'll buy a GTI. It has the same two doors If my wife wants a "cute" car she can have a bug.


Looks great. Nice evolutionary styling. 2.0 Liter gasoline turbo with manual 5 sp tranny will be fun and sporty.
Now, if VWoA could just figure out how to improve customer service support...


It looks like a new version of the old Ford Ka that was sold in Europe. I really like it. It was and is worth the wait. It goes with VW's current design language really well, but it's still uniquely a Beetle. Here's to another 12 years of the New Beetle.


the mileage is pathetic for the 2.5L engine.

Ken L.

I still don't believe too many males would be interested in a car like this. It's just too cute and the curves are simply too feminine. At least it's not as much of a clown car as the previous generation.


I'm a male and I liked the previous model well at least the turbo and turbo s series...The new model looks somewhat similar to the previous body style, so I'm a little disapointed because I expected something completely different, but oh well the car still looks nice.

Amuro Ray

A sad day (another one, actually) for true Beetle fans - the Beetle has now lost its trademarked "Arc" design...

It's more of a "regular" h/b now (with so many "flat" lines like the hood and the roof).

Another prime example of cost cutting (more parts/platform sharing) that kills the original intent.

Mark of Excellence

For a front engine car, there seems to be a lack of an adequate grille opening. No way would I want to drive this through the desert - it will overheat for sure. But that's probably the least of its reliability concerns.


They made it more wagon like, so that it could compete well with Mini which sells much better.

Still Volkswagen is crazy, whey are they offering a V5 engine when V4 is more than enough for this small vehicle.

ex lax

anybody know if it is front or rear wheel drive


Looks like a poor man's Porsche! Better than the old "new" Beetle, maybe guys will buy it now.

Bob Reising

Too bad for VW our Golf of 12 years just won't die. Don't make them so dependable and well-engineered so I can have a reason to buy a new one. Should have bought a PT Cruiser or Chevy Cobalt back then so I would be a customer by now.

You are so funny Glenn. Anyway, Bob Reising has point. I agree with him.

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