Volkswagen presents the Beetle at the 2011 Johannesburg International Motorshow in anticipation of the South African launch in 2012. The original Beetle was one of the first models to be produced at the Volkswagen’s production plant in Uitenhage six decades ago. The first generation Beetle is one of the three most successful cars ever, with over 21.5 million (first generation – 290 000 in South Africa) units sold.
Beetle shaped people’s consciousness
The Beetle is heart of Volkswagen and the original people’s car. It represents and emotionality of the Volkswagen Brand. It has always held a special place in people’s hearts especially in South Africa where it was the best-selling model for 11 years between 1951 and 1979. Over the years, the original Beetle shaped people’s collective consciousness. Children painted a Beetle when they painted a car.
New Beetle produced a cult car
The New Beetle made a sensational and successful return after nearly two decades 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 popularity of the New Beetle followed in the footsteps of the original Beetle and sold over one million units. As such, it reaffirmed the cult status of the Beetle which started in the 1950s.
Furthermore the design of the original Beetle is certainly the most recognisable automotive design in the world and it continues to win over the hearts of people of all generations.
21st century Beetle is the icon of a new era
People who want to drive a car that brings excitement, offers dynamic performance, offers lots of space and masters everyday driving with ease will soon think of the Beetle. The new Beetle is unique, unmistakable yet practical and functional.
Design of the original, re-interpreted
Coke bottle, iPhone, Ray Ban Aviator, 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 Group Design Chief Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand Head of Design) set as their objective for the Beetle: “Design a new original!” And that is how the design of the 2011 Beetle came to be in Wolfsburg– a car of today and tribute to the car that established the Volkswagen Brand.
There are unmistakable semblances in the designs of the first generation Beetle and latest Beetle. If one were to take the original Beetle and the new generation Beetle and place them together in a room– illuminate their roof lines to view their silhouettes– one would see nearly identical lines in the rear sections. Clearly, the Beetle makes fundamental stylistic references to the original Beetle.
Dynamics in the style of the Ragster
“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. It is bolder, more dynamic and masculine.
The roof profile runs distinctly lower and can be considered a continuation of the Ragster concept car shown in Detroit in 2005 – a concept hot rod based on the New Beetle.
The latest generation Beetle is a totally new design and does not share any part of the previous generation Beetle.
Entirely new proportions
The Beetle is 1,808 mm wide (84 mm wider), 1,486 mm high (12 mm lower) and 4,278 mm long (152 mm longer). 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.
In South Africa, the Beetle will be offered in two TSI engines, 1.2 TSI 77kW and 1.4 TSI 118kW. The 118kW engine will have an option of the seamless and fuel-efficient dual clutch transmission (DSG).
The Beetle will have two equipment lines, namely, Design and Sport.
Interior with 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 but the new car does not have a retro look. The panel in the“Design” equipment line is always painted in the exterior colour of the car. Customers who opt for the “Sport” equipment line get a panel with carbon look (“Carbon Fibre”).
Return of the Beetle box
Similar to the original Beetle, the latest Beetle has an extra glovebox (“Beetle box”) integrated in the front facia. The lid opens upward (the standard glovebox that is integrated with it opens downward).
Another classic feature are the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system. The instrument 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 Beetle is its interior ergonomics and packaging that 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 felt as if they were being chauffeured, because the bonnet was so far forward, the latest Beetle now offers a driving experience that is a lot sportier. Every interior feature is within easy reach.
In addition, Volkswagen has once again succeeded in implementing a quality interior finish that has premium feel.
Plenty of space for four and luggage
The Beetle’s styling, ergonomics, functionality and quality combine to create a new, exciting car with a highly individual nature. It offers plenty of space for four adults and the boot has luggage capacity of 310 litres (905 litres with standard split rear seats folded down).
The 21st century Beetle will be launched in South Africa in the second quarter of 2012.