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Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S

Price $23,950

The New Beetle Turbo S


Engine type: DOHC 20 valve inline-4 turbocharged and intercooled
Displacement: 1.8L (1781cc)
Power: 180 bhp
Torque: 173 lb.-ft.
Redline: 6500rpm
Transmission: 6 speed manual

Click here to see more specifications


 0-60: 6.7 sec
 0-100: 19.3 sec
 0-150: N/A
 1/4 mile: 15.5 sec @ 90 mph
 Top Speed: 133 mph

   It's hard to believe, but Volkswagen is building a Beetle again. This one, though, is far a cry from the air cooled, rear-engine car (still built in Mexico today) that charmed the world back in the 1960s. Known simply as the new Beetle, the car looks like nothing else in the market. In fact, the only thing that it might resemble is a Beetle that has evolved to the 1990s. Beneath that rounded cartoon of a body is the platform of the upcoming fourth-generation VW Golf, which means the new Beetle is a front-engine/front-drive car. While that may be considered heresy by those reared on air-cooled rear-drive Bugs, it makes economic sense in light of VW's concept of shared platforms. Beneath the steal hood is VW's familiar 1.8 liter turbocharged inline-4, that sees duty in some Audis, transverse mounted and driving the front wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission. A 4-speed automatic is optional.
   I really don't see the point of buying a car like this at this price ($20,685) when you can buy a Civic Si for about $3000 less, or an Integra GS-R for $1000 more, or even VW's own Golf GTi. This car gets as impractical as whatever you can think about. Interior space may look big, but there's no headroom in the back seat, and the windshield is too far from the driver. Anyway, this is suposed to be more like the revival of a famous car that served its purpose for a long time, than a practical everyday car, and maybe that's good enough of a reason to buy it.
   And you know what else? I think Volkswagen is not telling the real horsepower of this Beetle. Why? Simple: the Beetle weights a bit more than 3000 lbs. with a driver and yet, according to all magazines I've read, the Beetle does the 0-60 trick in 7.3 seconds. Not bad, uh? Well given a 150 bhp engine the power-to-weight ratio is 20.1 lbs per bhp. Normally a car with that ratio will do the 0-60 acceleration in about 8.0 to 8.5 seconds range. Also, the 133 mph top speed seems too high. Using the performance diagnostic program, the Beetle with 150 bhp did 0-60 in 8 seconds flat, and managed to pull only to 118 mph. Then using the specifications of the 180 bhp engine of the Audi TT, the Beetle did 0-60 in 7.2 seconds and reached 135 mph. That's closer.
   Is this something bad? I don't think so. Maybe the car magazines like the car so much that they make it look faster. Or maybe VW is trying to avoid some regulations or something. So what, you say? Well, all I say is that it is worth noting because the Audi S4 is another car that has the same trick.

UPDATE: Another increase in power has occurred for this New Beetle. The newest Turbo S has now 180 hp from the same 1.8L turbo engine.... just like I mentioned before, this engine is underrated and it wouldn't be far from true to say it has more like 200 bhp. Just like the Audi TT. Also a few more enhancements have been made.