New Bee­tle mus­cles up

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By KARLA PIN­COTT and PAUL GOVER

The turbo badge and six-speed man­ual gear­box fit­ted to the Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle at the New York auto show say ev­ery­thing about the car.

Men are the tar­get and Volk­swa­gen is get­ting tough to win them to the sec­ond re­make of the 60-yearold orig­i­nal.

It has made the Bee­tle’s body longer, lower and wider to make it more mas­cu­line, and also to an­swer crit­i­cisms of the girlie 1998 model — pinched back-seat space and an overly-small boot — which was al­ways com­pro­mised by sitting over the top of a Golf.

The lat­est Bee­tle has also got a much more main­stream cabin de­sign — with­out a dash that tips a vase in tribute to the orig­i­nal — but looks bet­ter and holds on to the rounded shape while also in­clud­ing fake run­ning boards down the side.

It’s al­ready con­firmed for Aus­tralia next year and Volk­swa­gen be­lieves it will be more pop­u­lar than the car that brought the charis­matic Bee­tle back from the dead.

‘‘Two thou­sand and twelve, that’s de­cided, so in one year’s time prob­a­bly,’’ says the head of Volk­swa­gen Group Aus­tralia, Anke Koeck­ler.

She is a strong sup­porter of the new de­sign and the changes made for men.

‘‘Right now the de­sign­ers tried to make it ac­tu­ally more mas­cu­line, and I think the job is done.

‘‘We will have more men sitting in the car.’’

The me­chan­i­cal de­tail of the Bee­tle is be­ing kept for later.

But al­ready it is con­firmed 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 says stock is very short.

‘‘We don’t pro­duce the Bee­tles for stock, were pro­duc­ing the Bee­tle for cus­tomers, and that means we don’t have a lot of Bee­tles left,’’ she says.

And she’s look­ing for­ward to a car that, to­gether with the sporty Scirocco coupe, has the po­ten­tial to bring new cus­tomers to the Ger­man brand.

‘‘This is a re­ally good prod­uct to emo­tion­alise our brand again. It’s such an iconic model for our brand right now to have the right so­lu­tion. It took us a bit of time but right now I think the prod­uct is look­ing quite promis­ing for us.’’

It has made the body longer, lower and wider

The more mas­cu­line-look­ing Bee­tle

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