2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Track Test

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Track Test

Running Numbers on Our Long-Term Coupe

Inside Line 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 "IL Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Taking a Volkswagen Beetle to the track feels a little bit like taking a Camaro to a farmers market, but hey, we test everything. Besides, this isn't your ordinary flower-vase-having, hippie-driven Beetle. Our Long-Termer is a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. It has a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 and is built on the same platform as the fanboy-favorite Golf GTI. Oh, and did we mention that it's 70 pounds lighter than a GTI?

But does it perform like a GTI, or should it simply head back to the mean streets of Santa Monica where it belongs?

Vehicle: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo
Odometer: 1,207
Date: 5/15/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
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): 235/45R18 (94H)
Tire Size (rear): 235/45R18 (94H)
Tire Brand: Hankook
Tire Model: Optimo H426
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,181

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 3.0 (3.3 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.5 (5.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.6 (7.2 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.3 (6.8 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 9.6 (10.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.9 @ 94.2 (15.4 @ 93.5 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 128

Slalom (mph): 63.4 (N/A w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.83 (N/A w/TC off)
Db @ Idle: 44.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67.7
RPM @ 70: 2,200

Acceleration: Pretty lazy off the line as the automated-manual transmission slips the clutch, but then the traction control light comes on in the middle of 1st gear to quell wheelspin. Dramatic difference when I overlapped pedals as well as using S transmission mode where it chirps the 1-2 shift. Upshifts are dramatically quicker in S mode.

Braking: Immediate jump-in and medium-firm pedal. Minimal dive and all stops were straight. Some ABS and tire noise. Highly susceptible to wavy surface changes where one midpack stop grew by 5 feet.

Skid pad: Nondefeat ESC/Trac (not even a button) means sneaking up on understeer as the throttle begins shutting; push harder and the brakes interfere rather abruptly.

Slalom: Initial turn-in is a little lazy, but it takes a set well and even transitions nicely. Nondefeat ESC means it requires ultra-smooth, singular input or else the ESC intervenes with extreme prejudice with drastic and prolonged brake application. Besides not being able to shut it down, the system seems overly conservative and crudely tuned given that this is the sportiest Beetle.

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

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