2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Split Shifts
April 8, 2013
I'm conflicted about driving cars in Sport mode for two reasons. First, holding the shift to a higher RPM and downshifting sooner isn't great for fuel economy. And with premium gas as the fuel of choice in this Beetle, it gets pricey.
The other strike against Sport mode is that it puts me in a different state of mind. With an overeager transmission I feel compelled to thread my way through traffic. And on Los Angeles freeways, that's a lot of work for very little gain. When I'm out in the country on winding roads, I'll just use the paddle shifters.
So, I drive with the shifter in the normal mode which with this six-speed automated-manual DSG unit, is a bit sluggish. I feel the engine bogging down a little just before it reaches for a lower gear. I'd prefer a seamless shift. But then again, with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, there is always power to work with.
Ideally, I'd like to split the shifts somewhere between sport and normal. Admittedly, it's a small gripe against an otherwise enjoyable powertrain.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 16,680 miles