1998 was the first year Volkswagen decided to bring back the Beetle. I loved this car, but it had so many things wrong with it. Big things from problems with the fuel injectors and throttle settings, to little things like window control buttons falling off and the interior peeling. It was very frustrating. I love VW, which is why I recently upraded to an '06 New Beetle. It was probably our own fault for buying a car the first year they made it, but for a first car, it seemed like the right price and right "style" for a 16 year old girl. I would recommend that you DO purchase a VW New Beetle, but I would also recommend that you purchase a different year, as the problems associated with 1998 models are plenty.
I loved the style. Every girl wants a cute car! The 6-disc CD deck was nice. It was very easy to park in tight spots.
The maintenance costs that come with a car the first year they've made it are too much to handle. I'd suggest just buying a newer version of the Beetle.