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The Warsaw Voice » Society » June 3, 2015
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Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI Design: Sheer Fun
June 3, 2015   
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Much like its legendary predecessor, the updated Volkswagen Beetle that hit the market nearly two decades ago has won legions of fans. The Beetle of today offers modern technology, superb handling, extensive equipment and, above all, sheer fun.

Some cars have become automotive icons that have shaped the development of motoring. In the United States, one such car was the Model T Ford, in Britain the Mini Morris, in Italy the Fiat 600, and in Germany the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Beetle was the world’s longest-produced mass model. More than 21 million units were churned out from 1938, when the first Bug rolled off the assembly line, to 2003, when production of this version ended. The new Beetle appeared on the market in 1997, while its older version was still being produced at Volkswagen’s giant plant in Puebla, just outside Mexico City.

The idea behind the new version was to design a compact city car technologically based on the Volkswagen Golf IV and stylistically referring to the Beetle. Did that succeed? Looking at the new Beetle it seems the answer is yes, at least when it comes to appearance. In 2011, the look of the car was modified slightly, but the Bug retained its distinctive shape.

In the pictures the new Beetle looks a bit like a small metal toy car for boys. In fact, the three-door auto is 4.27 meters in length, 1.80 m in width, and 2.53 m in height. It comes with big, 17-inch wheels. It resembles its famous predecessor at very first glance: the same unique body shape and similar proportions.

As in the original, the interior is spacious—at least for a city car. With its 2,537 mm wheelbase, the new Bug offers plenty of legroom in the front seats, though those riding in the back need some acrobatic skills to get in. There is only enough room for two passengers of smaller stature. Likewise, the trunk is a modest 310 liters. But with two people inside, the car offers driving comfort, quality finishing materials and fine equipment.

The best thing about the new Bug is that it is sheer pleasure to sit behind the steering wheel. It has an original dashboard that, like the whole body, refers to its predecessor in appearance. Other selling points include a comfortable driving position, good visibility, the right amount of spring in the suspension, direct steering, a precise six-speed transmission, and a responsive turbocharged gasoline engine. The Beetle is a bit like a go-kart to drive.

The car is fitted with a modern 1.4-liter/160 hp turbocharged engine that works like clockwork. It allows the less than 1,300 kg auto to hit 100 kph in a brisk 8.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 208 kph. The engine is not only dynamic and flexible but also reasonably economical, all things considered. While the average fuel consumption promised by the manufacturer, at 6.6 liters per 100 km, is difficult to obtain, my result of 7.8 liters per 100 km during the test-drive seemed good enough.

Looking at the huge interest generated by the new Bug, it is evident that the fashion for retro-style cars is in full swing. For some the Beetle evokes fond memories, for others it is their first encounter with a living legend. Whichever group you belong to, the Bug will put a smile on your face.

Bartosz Grzybiński
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