Finally, there is a new Volkswagen Beetle ($24,475-$29,025). The 2012 Beetle is bigger, sleeker, more powerful and wider. This is a more manly Beetle, say VW officials, not the “chick” car that was the old New Beetle for the better part of a decade.
Under the hood is a modified version of the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder and it’s rated at 170 horsepower, up from the previous 150 hp. The optional 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder comes in at 200 hp.
While the outside has a design with a harder edge, the cabin is bigger thanks to a longer wheelbase. The cabin design is notable for big gauges, well-placed controls and attractive surfaces.
VW officials say the suspension tuning is sporting, but not stiff. That should appeal to men. Likewise the tuning for steering and brakes – manly.
But here’s the question: Is there a place for a front-wheel-drive, four-passenger, two-door subcompact that has stylistic roots going back more than half a century. Or has the Beetle’s day come and gone, manly or not?