The original, air-cooled Beetle was long gone from most automotive markets by the 1990s, but the worldwide reservoir of goodwill toward the car had hardly diminished. Around 1991, at VW's design studio in Simi Valley, Calif., the studio's manager, J Mays, and designer Freeman Thomas began conjuring up a car that would recall the Beetle, but with a modern edge. The resulting design, the Concept 1, was displayed to huge and unprecedented acclaim at the 1994 Detroit Auto Show. So Volkswagen decided to turn it into a production vehicle.
The New Beetle, built exclusively at VW's Puebla, Mexico plant, appeared in mid-1998 more as a stylish variation on the front-drive Golf, than as a lineal descendent of the original Beetle. In fact, under the evocative skin, all the mechanical bits were lifted directly from the Golf, including the transverse-mounted, water-cooled, 115-hp, 2.0-liter, SOHC, eight-valve, inline four in the nose; the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions; and the all-independent suspension. And shortly after the gasoline-fueled version was announced, the Beetle was also made available with VW's excellent 90-hp, 1.9-liter, turbo diesel four trim levels included base GL, midlevel GLS and loaded GLX.
There is so much to say about the vehicle," said Edmunds upon their first experience with the New Beetle, "but the bottom line is that it makes everybody happy; it's a fun, refreshing car that drips personality, right down to the smile on its hood". With its array of exciting colors and options, the New Beetle has something for a wide spectrum of beetle enthusiasts.
The New Beetle has gone through changes over the years, including upgraded power plants, transmissions and even body styles, as in the addition of a convertible (mid-'03) and a body style refresh in 2005. Although the New Beetle sales tapered off, their remained a core of loyal New Beetle enthusiasts, as well as young, first-time drivers coming of driving age, finally fulfilling their childhood dreams of owning a New Beetle. Still VW realized there was time for a change and utilized forward-thinking for the successor to the Beetle icon. This was realized by the production of the "Final Edition" New Beetle in 2010; a 1500 limited production New Beetle and the swan song of its production run, closing the chapter in New Beetle history... but the Beetle linage doesn't end here.
From 2010 to 2011, magazines as well as the internet were littered with a myriad of artist's renderings and concepts, on what the next-gen Beetle would look like. Amidst the speculations and debates, it was clear that VW was in the design studios and that a new, New Beetle was in the works and the word was getting out quickly, albeit under suspenseful secrecy.
From a 2011 Super Bowl ad and a strong marketing campaign; to a world-wide (Germany, Tokyo, New York) premier event; the official arrival of the 2012 Beetle was ushered into the world in grand style. Gone is the "New" moniker, and now known as The Beetle- 21st Century Beetle. As is gone the New Beetle, so has the entire platform. The Beetle is an entirely new vehicle from the ground up.
The 2012 Beetle offers two engines and transmissions: the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic; and the 2.0-liter TSI® turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the acclaimed DSG® six-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual. The very popular TDI power plant will be another welcome addition to the VW powertrain line up in 2013.
With the arrival of the 2012 Beetle, comes a new found excitement. The redesign hopes to bring a broader base of consumer from every demographic, thus continuing the popularity of this enduring icon.
It is with great pride that newbeetle.org welcomes the 2012+ Beetle to the furtherance of the Beetle lineage AND to newbeetle.org family. To the icon's posterity and their owners: welcome.