New Volkswagen Beetle gets double show reveal
Volkswagen is unveiling the next Beetle with a lavish reveal at both the Shanghai and New York motor shows.
The international double header may seem rather excessive when you consider the conservative appearance of the car's 21st century update, but the Beetle's historical significance earns it a certain amount of extravagance.
The fact that the previous (ghastly) model sold over a million units doesn't hurt either.
That's nothing compared to the original of course, which shifted over 20 million examples before finally biting the production bullet.
Its unparalleled success is the reason that the latest car doesn't mess much with the established formula. The attention of Volkswagen's design chief, Walter de Silva, means some of the curves have been flattened and squared off, but otherwise it's instantly recognisable hokum.
The Beetle has swelled slightly, doubtless to the benefit of interior space, and gets a plethora of new features like an integrated spoiler, bigger wheels, sat nav, integrated rear spoiler and an optional sound system developed by an amp and guitar specialist.
If that last one sounds slightly gimmicky, the Beetle has at least dispensed with its most painfully 'quirky' item – the dashboard-mounted flower vase has been consigned to history like drum brakes and the Third Reich.
Underneath the car will get Volkswagen's familiar range of turbocharged petrol and frugal diesel engines, and can be specified with the manufacturer's seven-speed DSG gearbox should you wish.
Prospective buyers can start putting their names down on the waiting list this summer and should expect to see the new Beetle on their driveway early in 2012.