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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

    The 2012 Jetta GLI went back and we were supposed to get a Passat in its place. However, the Passat encountered some unfortunate incident in the hands of another journalist so instead Volkswagen sent us this 2012 Beetle Turbo with DSG and Navigation.

    So far I've done almost entirely city driving in the Beetle and while the DSG is very smooth above first, I'm finding it a little jerky in stop and go city traffic. After you get it out of crawling speed, the DSG opens the Beetle's wings and allows incredibly smooth and fast shifting in either direction. In regular drive mode and normal city speeds, the DSG does its best to keep the RPM below 2,000 at all time. Switching to sport mode raises the imaginary line to 3,000. You can rev the engine higher than that, but in normal driving, it is completely unnecessary. When prodded, the Beetle will break its front tires loose pretty easily in first and second gear.

    I was seeing some pretty great highway economy numbers out of the Jetta GLI with this same engine but a 6-speed manual. During my time with the Beetle, I will be driving 90% of the route that I took the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco on and again I will be loaded down with gear. Because the Beetle has a larger engine with 62 more horsepower and 52 more lb-ft of torque, I don't expect the Beetle Turbo to match the Cruze's 51mpg I saw on that trip. The Beetle Turbo is rated at 22/30 city/highway but my guess is that I'll be able to beat that number after seeing what the Jetta GLI was able to do.

    The looks are far more masculine than the first generation Beetle, and I'm getting a lot of stop and stare as I drive by.

    But now I have to get on the road. Leave your questions in the comments section for this 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo.


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    Not sure if you've ever driven a first-gen New Beetle, but the new car seems to be packaged noticeably better, with the flatter windshield and shallower dash perceptibly taking up less passenger space. I sometimes felt like I was driving from the back seat in mine.

    How's the driving position and the visibility out of the new, flat windshield and low roof?

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    According to the trip computer, I did 35.5mpg over 375 miles. That was fairly well loaded down as you'll see in the picture below.... the trip back will be just me and my luggage.

    I find the driving position to be very agreeable. It was absolutely fine for the 7 hours I spent behind the wheel yesterday. I find that I do sit more upright than other cars, but not in any way that is uncomfortable. There is also actual legroom in the back when the front seat is adjusted for me. It's no DTS back there, but I'm not squished in.

    I'm getting a rattle from the right rear of the car inside the passenger compartment. My suspicion is that the package shelf isn't securely fastened since I was monkeying with it to get all of these laptops in. I will investigate later as I have finally unloaded the car.

    Reactions have all been positive with lots of people giving thumbs up as the drive past.

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    The car was able to handle 9 laptops with all of the accessories plus my luggage.

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    I think I'd go with the Beetle, but I'd get it in a manual instead of DSG. However, the GLI is a full $3k cheaper than this Beetle, so if money were an object, the Beetle isn't worth $3k more than the better equipped GLI. I was close. it's a $2,500 difference, so my point stands.

    GLI Manual - $26,445

    GLI DSG - $27,545

    Beetle Turbo Manual - $28,995

    Beetle Turbo DSG - $30,095

    The GLI has automatic climate control, bluetooth, and iPod controls for less money.

    Handling wise, the GLI only seems marginally better... and I think that has more to do with the Beetle's relatively tall stature on a 5 inch shorter wheel base.

    I really really am enjoying this car. It is fun to drive, easy to park, easy to get in and out of, more commodious than one would think, and relatively fuel efficient for a car that has a lot of scoot.

    So my problem? For $30,000, one has to *really* want a Beetle equipped like this... because at that price, one's mind can quickly wander to things like a Regal Turbo, which handles better (or at least more reassuringly) and is still pretty quick, and I keep thinking how much Verano $30k will get you keeping in mind the turbo version of that car will have 50 more horsepower and 50 more ft-lb of torque along with the other niceties.

    Edit: I just realized I screwed up on the price comparison because I compared a 6-speed manual GLI to a 6-speed DSG Beetle. Let me look up the price differential and fix it.

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    With the prices you listed above, you showed my problem with Beetle. For the same money or close to it, I can jump into a GTI Three Door when equipped as the same.

    I love the new Beetle. I had the chance to sit in it and found it very enjoyable. The price tag though has me wondering why I shouldn't go with the GLI and pocket the $2k in savings.

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    What other impressions do you have with this car? How is it in city driving? and also...how well does it stack up to the Cruze in your opinion as a commuter cr? How well does it stack up against other cars you have driven?

    May very well be in the market soon....also...how does Albert like this thing? Has he driven it or ridden in it?

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    Even the base model is terrific, and it will be even sweeter when the 1.8L takes over from the 2.5... although the 2.5s I've driven have been fine, with a swell of torque that's reassuring.

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