One for the boys

VWis hop­ing that with the frilly bits gone, the blokes will be back

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - KARLA PIN­COTT and PAUL GOVER

THE turbo badge and six-speed man­ual gear­box fit­ted to the new ‘‘ new’’ Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle at the New York mo­tor show say ev­ery­thing about the car.

Men are the tar­get andVW is get­ting tough to lure them to the sec­ond re­make of the 70-year-old orig­i­nal.

It has made the Bee­tle’s body longer, lower and wider to look more mas­cu­line. That an­swers crit­i­cisms of the 1998 model, aimed at younger women, which had pinched back-seat space, a small boot and was com­pro­mised sitting over the top of a Golf. The lat­est Bee­tle also fea­tures a more main­stream cabin de­sign with­out the lit­tle dash vase tribute to the orig­i­nal.

It looks bet­ter and holds on to the rounded shape and in­cludes fake run­ning boards. It’s al­ready con­firmed for here in 2012 andVW­be­lieves it will be more pop­u­lar than the car that brought the charis­matic Bee­tle back from the dead.

‘‘ Right now the de­sign­ers tried to make it ac­tu­ally more mas­cu­line, and I think the job is done,’’ says Anke Koeck­ler, Volk­swa­gen Group Aus­tralia head and a strong sup­porter of the new de­sign. ‘‘ We will have more men sitting in the car.’’

The Bee­tle’s me­chan­i­cal de­tails haven’t been re­leased but al­ready it is con­firmed, as ex­pected given the pop­u­lar­ity of oil burn­ers in Europe, with a range of petrol and diesel en­gines, both DSG and man­ual gear­boxes and, for the mo­ment, front-wheel drive.

In Aus­tralia, the runout of the ex­ist­ing Bee­tle has been go­ing for some time and Koeck­ler re­ports cur­rent stock is be­com­ing very short.

She is look­ing for­ward to a car that, with the sporty Scirocco coupe, can bring new cus­tomers to the brand.

‘‘ It’s such an iconic model . . . I think the prod­uct is look­ing quite promis­ing for us.’’

Mas­cu­line: The longer, lower and wider Bee­tle and (be­low) the in­te­rior

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