2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Track Retest

New Shoes, Same Dance

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo isn't new to our long-term fleet. In fact, we've had it for nearly 10,000 miles at this point and have already run testing numbers on our previous VW Beetle track test.

But those numbers were with the old "Twister"-style wheels and their 235/45R18 Hankook Optimo H426 tires. As you'll remember, in late October we swapped out those wheels for a set of "Disc" wheels, which we think fit the new Beetle a little better. These wheels are about 2 pounds heavier and are equipped with P235/45R18 Continental ContiProContact all-season tires.

We know that these wheels and tires make our Beetle look better, but do they do anything to the performance? We took our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo to the track — again — to find out.

Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo
Odometer: 9,573
Date: 11/13/2012
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $28,385

Drive Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automated manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,984/121
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 5,100
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 207 @ 1,700
Brake Type (front): 12.3-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.7-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P235/45R18 (94H) M+S
Tire Size (rear): P235/45R18 (94H) M+S
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,170

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.8 (3.3 in Drive mode)
0-45 (sec): 4.3 (5.1 in Drive mode)
0-60 (sec): 6.4 (7.3 in Drive mode)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.1 (6.6 in Drive mode)
0-75 (sec): 9.4 (10.6 in Drive mode)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.8 @ 94.3 (15.2 @ 93.3 in Drive mode)
(All numbers are with traction control on)

30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 123

Slalom (mph): 66.3 w/ TC on
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.86 w/ TC on

Db @ Idle: 43.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.3

RPM @ 70: 2,200


Acceleration: Huge hesitation on first run — hence the much quicker rollout number. Combination of an easily confused transmission and turbo lag. Once the turbo comes on, it's pretty quick. Best run used Sport transmission mode with mild power braking and some mid-1st-gear wheelspin. Manual shifting is via console lever (pull back for downshifts) or paddle shifters. Blips throttle on downshifts, doesn't hold gears at redline.

Braking: Firm pedal, reasonably short travel. Not too much dive and no side-to-side movement. Major brake odor by fourth stop, when pedal travel got slightly longer. First stop was shortest at 123 feet. Third stop (out of six) was longest at 129 feet.


Skid pad: With the non-defeat ESC (there isn't even a TC-off button) intervening, there isn't much to do here but steer. Although the stability system is quite intrusive, adding brakes, there is a minor benefit to adjusting the throttle, although you're still battling the ESC. The chassis is actually fairly responsive.

Slalom: Decent turn-in, composed chassis. ESC can't be defeated, but thankfully its intervention point is high. You can throw the Beetle around pretty aggressively before it starts adding brakes, and even then it's not as "stabby" about it as many cars these days. The quickest run came with just a very mild amount of brake intervention. Over-drive the car, though, and the ESC will make you pay.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.