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New 2011 Volkswagen Beetle revealed

Retro VW gets tougher and more practical

New 2012 VW Beetle

The new Volkswagen Beetle has been revealed in Shanghai

Volkswagen unwrapped its new Beetle at Auto Shanghai 2011, China’s biggest motor show.

The new VW Beetle puts a firm emphasis on performance and power compared its decidedly cute predecessor. There’s even a top-spec version driven by the Volkswagen Golf GTI engine.

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2011 Volkswagen Beetle: end to retro?

In addition to being longer, lower and wider than before, the new Volkswagen Beetle also boasts a bigger boot (310 litres compared to 205 litres) and a longer wheelbase.

New 2012 VW Beetle

New VW Beetle is bigger and more practical

In addition to looking a lot tougher, it should also prove more practical, too – with increased passenger space and comfort. There are just four seats, while the rest of the interior has been thoroughly modernised. In place of the kitsch flower vase of the previous model, the range-topping car in the pictures has apparently sprouted a macho gauge cluster on top of the dashboard.

That said, colour panels throughout the cabin and the design of the glovebox lid are inspired by the original Beetle. We wouldn’t call it retro any more, but VW certainly isn’t about to ignore all that iconic heritage.

Read our full review of the current Volkswagen Beetle

Three trim levels, four engines – including 197bhp TSI

New 2012 VW Beetle

Numerous trim levels and engines will be offered

Buyers will be able to choose from three trim levels: Beetle, Design and Sport.

There’s no word on exact specification as yet, but six airbags and stability control will be standard, while LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlights, satellite navigation, keyless go and a panoramic sunroof will all be available – all for the first time on any Beetle.

Engine choice in the UK will be limited to one diesel and three petrol options.

The 103bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel features BlueMotion technology, including start-stop and energy regeneration, and is expected to return 65.7mpg with 112g/km CO2 emissions.

Petrol choice comprises 103bhp 1.2 TSI, 157bhp 1.4 TSI and the aforementioned 197bhp 2.0 TSI similar to that found under the bonnet of the latest Golf GTI – each one featuring a turbocharger for improved response and economy. The 2.0 TSI also benefits from VW’s XDS electronic front differential, which increases cornering grip.

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New 2012 VW Beetle

The new VW Beetle is expected to be available in the UK in 2012

Order summer 2011 for spring 2012 arrival

No pricing has yet been revealed, but that’s no surprise given the new Beetle is not set to reach UK dealerships until early in 2012.

Those who want to join the very front of the queue, however, will be able to order the car this summer – so we expect the cost to be confirmed before then.

Given Volkswagen already has the Golf and the Scirocco competing in a similar area of the marketplace, it will be interesting to see where the Beetle fits into the line-up – ‘lifestyle’ rather than budget is the most likely scenario.

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