Spied: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Considering that the “New” Beetle has been on-sale since 1998 and that we’ve been talking about a replacement since roughly 2007, your skepticism of a successor is forgiven. After chasing rumors for years, we can finally show you the new New Beetle, caught testing in its homeland.

A casual glance might have you wondering just what we’re on about, but look a bit closer. Volkswagen tried hard to make this look like any old Beetle, but it’s a cleverly disguised mule. The giveaway is the roofline, particularly over the rear seats. For as much as Volkswagen touted the inherent interior space advantage of a round object, it was really only an advantage if you were Yao Ming and sitting in one of the front seats. In the back seats, it meant intimate knowledge of the rear window as experienced by the back of your head and Volkswagen knew it. That’s why this car has a flatter roofline that drops off sharply after the rear seats instead of right on top of them.

It’s also why the original Type I Beetle had a similar roofline, which furthers the New Beetle’s retro-tastic design motif. In fact, a lot of the new New Beetle’s styling is influenced by the Type I as the original retro car gets even more retro. The windshield on this prototype is more vertical, again like the original, and helps get rid of the notorious football field-sized dash on the current model. Moving farther forward, the hood has been stretched out both to compensate for the shorter windshield and, again, to make the car look more like the original Type I. Viewed from the side, the new design has a surprising bit of Porsche to its shape, possibly a nod to its heritage if not just a coincidence.

Not everything on the new New Beetle is retro-inspired, though. A fair amount of inspiration can also be traced to the 2005 Ragster Concept. While Volkswagen made a point of keeping the car’s short overhangs (again, like the Type I), it is getting new fascias. Up front, it looks almost as though the engineers hung the old fascia over the top of the new one to throw us off and the result is an ugly under-bite that does its job of disguising updates brilliantly. Expect a more aggressive fascia with larger air intakes to help fight the New Beetle’s “chick car” image. Above it, the new hood is wider and less round at the front, very much unlike the Type I and a bit less cutesy than the old New Beetle. The headlights, meanwhile, are a new design with separate projectors rather than the integrated units on the current car.

Thanks to: Motor Trend


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