The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle – Meeting The Hero
Ever since I’ve developed my affection for cars and motoring, one car that has a perpetual place in my heart was the Volkswagen Beetle. It may not be surprising as scientifically some may prove that it’s just because the Beetle is being around our lives since forever! However, if the aforesaid notion is true, then chances are that I should’ve got bored by looking at the beetle bug. Nevertheless, that never happened and I never I got tired as well, even though it is estimated that approximately 21.5 (original, RWD) beetles were sold around the world. Being a nostalgia dweller, the moment, I saw this new-born Version 2.0 Beetle, I just wanted to be a part of an automobile spanning more than over 80 years. The vision of Ferdinand Porsche remains perennial. No wonder the original Beetle won the Car of the Century competition, honoring the world’s most influential car in the 20th century. Strangely though whenever the discussion of Beetle comes the relativity with flowers always pops up!
Sleek Coupe – 8/ 10
This all-new Volkswagen Beetle (code name A5) of reborn and re-imagined draws the design inspiration from the super Beetle (circa 1973). The low roof line and rakish front wind screen casting a silhouette of a coupe. A clean design with bigger glass-house is created, with the help of the frame-less door by omitting the B-pillar. Our tester was the top spec SEL model that was embellished with crescent like LED daytime running lights around Bi-xenon encased in a big round headlight structure over a long hood. In the rear, car had a duck tail spoiler to boost a sporty character and beautiful oblong-ish taillights. Adding a flare to the design is the Saturn Yellow color with dark contrasting roof and the large 19-inch Tornado alloys’ wheels in black and striking polish.
Inside the cabin, it’s all retro; taking the design cues from the original Beetle from the famous ‘flower era’ naturally there are ‘highs and lows’. Body colored panels are used on the dashboard that not only recollect of the memory of the original Beetle, though the glove compartment still today provides a limited space. However, the scheme certainly livens up the cabin and is unlike other VW products with stark interior. Our tester came with “Vienna” leather sports seats though supportive, but with firmness dialed to the max. Everything you see in the cabin exudes typical high standards of Volkswagen. However, when touched, they felt hard, yet not harsh as in coarse quality.
The rear seats are unlike a slab of cushion; they are formed in individual style. Hence, you can say the car’s seating configuration is 2+2 rather 2+3. This means, limited space in the back, leaving kids ‘only’ as the rightful occupants. The front door pockets also made from an elastic strap-band rather than a use-able plastic molding to store water bottle and papers. Inside the turbo/ sporty feel is completed with a tri-dials instrument pod that sits on top of the dashboard. Should you want to time your lap, there’s an available chronometer to do just that. Then there’s a 3- color ambient cabin light that actually surrounds the Fender label speakers, providing excellent sound even with Bluetooth enabled mobile connectivity. There’s a large touch screen on the center console for everything. On a personal note, I didn’t like the dot-matrix era, font appearance.
Sporty Coupe – 6.5/ 10
It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Beetle is equipped with 2.0 turbo charged engine as standard across all trim levels. It’s a same engine that comes with VW’s highly respected car, The Golf GTI. However, Golf GTI that we drove last year was a thoroughly well sorted, unbeatable Hot Hatch! And this 2.0 turbo engine mated with 6-speed DSG transmission is not the sum of all parts. Therefore, turbo Beetles shouldn’t compare with Golf GTI at all. There’s a plenty of body roll, the brakes are ordinary and above all the firm ride due to the standard sports suspensions. Furthermore, I think a lot to do with the bigger and stylish 235/40 R19 all seasons Continentals, also, added into the mix. It’s like a hot-rod project with too many ingredients mashed-up, does not add up to the required taste.
There’s a lot of fun from this 2.0 turbo engine as it delivers a decent 210 Bhp. Hence, you can gain speed rapidly whenever there’s a gap available. If you want, a 0-60 fun-factor can be achieved within 7.5 seconds. Drive the car at high speed, say constant in the range of 100 – 110 Km/h, the large panoramic sunroof allows lots of wind noise. The rest of the drive is decent and enjoyable as long as the car is driven with civil manners.
Safety – 8.5/ 10
Today, the automakers are spending a lot of research and development time and money where it matters a lot. The single point that covers the whole notion is safety. Volkswagen has loaded the car to provide assurance to its loyal drivers that increases the peace of mind. Some of the safety features are driver select-able and other works in tandem, both are hidden as unsung heroes. Hill hold control incl., Park distance control; front and rear can be viewed on the center screen. Even though our Beetle SEL wasn’t equipped with the 4motion system (all-wheel drive system) there are lots of electronic gizmos replicating the same to provide the driver a confident ride wherever possible. Electronic Stability Control with driver steering recommendation incl. ABS w/brake assist, traction control (ASR), electronic differential lock XDS along with Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) providing smooth, comfortable starts on split-friction road surfaces with differing levels of grip. If one wheel starts to spin, the electronic differential lock will brake the wheel as necessary, directing power to the wheel with better grip in the process, another one is EDTC or Engine drag torque control preventing the driven wheels from locking on slippery surfaces under the influence of engine braking.
Lifestyle Value – 6.5/ 10
Did I tell you that the original VW Beetle won the Car of the Century award as the most influential car in the 20th Century. What if I tell you that the re-imagined new Beetle that was introduced back in 1997 kick-started the trend of cute lifestyle cars. We’ve seen BMW introducing the Mini (marque) and then recently followed by Fiat resurrecting the 500. Yes, you can once again thanks to the Volkswagen Beetle for setting the trend all over again.
Our test car SEL grade cost around AED 127, 600//- and comes with all sorts of present day goodies like, RNS 510 Radio navigation system, with 30GB of hard disk space and a highly enjoyable 400 watt 8 speakers Fender Sound system, Cell phone preparation and Bluetooth hands free connectivity. Comfort package incl. Climatronic and cruise control with a multi-functional flat-bottom steering wheel. If you have a flare of lifestyle and prefer quality and like people to give a nod at your choice, then VW Beetle is the right choice.
However, if the above price is too high consider SE model that starts at AED 114,270/. Volkswagen offer an array of personalized and customization options as you can build-up a car of your choice. With same 2.0 TSI engine delivers the identical zing and almost similar bells and whistles with 18-inch wheels, and non-firm suspensions may well take you tirelessly beyond Sheikh Zayed Road to the curvy roads through the scenic and mountainous region of Fujairah. Hey, I am smelling the flowers here!