2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Conehead
July 18, 2012
Dan Edmunds, our director of vehicle testing, says the Volkswagen Beetle Turbo is the perfect thing for the test track. But maybe not for the reasons you might have guessed.
First of all, he likes the long doors with a low beltline, so he can park the Beetle near the slalom and skidpad areas at Auto Club Speedway and get a good view as he records the test times relayed to him over the two-way radios by our test drivers.
But most important, the Beetle is an excellent cone picker-upper.
When one of our careless, ham-fisted test drivers clumsily knocks aside a cone in the slalom while breathtakingly sideways in a Porsche 911 Turbo S, Edmunds can cruise the Beetle onto the track and set the misplaced cone in its spot without having to leave the driver seat.
The door opens nice and wide, and the seat height is close enough to the ground that it's easy to pick up the cone that has been knocked down. Plus you can creep the car forward with the door open to put the cone back into its proper spot without the safety electronics going into a tizzy and shifting the transmission into Park. The engagement of the dual-clutch automated transmission is very smooth as well, and this also makes cone chasing easier.
This is the kind of thing that makes a day at the track go quicker, especially when you have a group of cars as capable of blowing aside cones at top speed as the 2012 Porsche Boxster S, Porsche 911 Turbo S, and Porsche Panamera GTS.
And afterwards, it's easy to find a place to stack all the cones when it's time to clean up.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,950 miles
Photos by Chris Walton