2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Midrange Sauce
December 28, 2012
"You're driving that piece of crap tonight?" asked one of my colleagues.
It wasn't a totally fair assessment, but that's how it goes round here. Through collective experience, we eventually reduce each car in the fleet to snap judgments. It's a sort of Darwinian method of ranking the garage. But, as I told my colleague, I like the Beetle. I don't think it's a piece of crap. Maybe when you throw it hard into corners, rampage on the throttle and try to get it to change directions like an Elise it comes up crappy, but I'm not driving it that hard on my cross-county commutes.
And in theory, our Turbo shouldn't handle as crappily as, say, the base model. Ours has a thicker front sway bar and a multilink rear suspension (base and TDI models get torsion beam rear). But that's not the point of the Beetle anyway. It's simply just a comfortable and stylish set of wheels. Nice interior, nice controls layout. Cool thin-diameter steering wheel. Easy touchscreen media interface. More than that, the turbo 2.0-liter starts unloading its 207 lb-ft of torque from 1,700 rpm.
It's got sauce, plenty in fact for highway overtaking and breaking out from the pack. That part never gets old. And even though it's got shift paddles on the wheel, I find it more fun to push and pull the shifter from the DSG's manual gate.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 12,600 miles