Volkswagen unveils all-new 2012 Beetle

There are a few automobiles that are standard fixtures in the history books, now and forever. Even if you wish to move on and erase them, atleast from your memories, you just can't do it. One such model is the phenomenal, iconic and legendary Volkswagen Beetle. ‘The Bug’, as it is cheekily called, was for long, the largest selling nameplate in history until the Toyota Corolla took over that tag in the previous decade. For your records, the original Beetle has sold more than 20 million units till date.

The New Beetle, which was launched in 1998 with neo-retro looks touched the hearts of bug-lovers again and sold more than a million units before its production ended last year. The all-new 2012 Beetle, launched simultaneously by Volkswagen at the Shanghai Motor Show, the New York Motor Show and at a separate event in Berlin, is just an evolution of the previous version. Though Volkswagen claims that every inch of the car has been redesigned, the roots are clearly obvious and no one would ever mistake this for anything else but a Beetle. Which is, in a way, what everybody wished and wanted.

People love the Beetle as it is and the lesser changes to it visually, the better. The classic round headlamps are retained and as is the norm now, they come adorned with LEDs. The edges of the bumper have now become squarer and have been superbly integrated into the rounded front end. As a result, the Beetle now looks less toy-like and more matured. There are minimal changes to the profile with the window line extending a little bit to liberate more interior space. At the rear, the taillights have been nicely redesigned which, along with the new bumper, increases the visual appeal of the car.

If the previous generation Beetle had one major criticism, it was about the car being too girlish. That concern seems to have been addressed now, atleast to my eyes, as the all-new Beetle definitely looks much less rounded and girlish than the car it replaces. In fact, the flower-vase in the dashboard that the previous Beetle had and the fairer sex loved, has been removed. Volkswagen is even planning to launch a hot and sporty, turbocharged version of the car that would share its engine with the Golf GTI and come with a big rear spoiler to announce its intent.

The interiors have been freshened up too and looks much more breezy and spacious than the old car. But, as you, me and everybody else knows, nobody buys a Beetle for its interiors or for its power, but for its looks and for its legacy. On those aspects, the all-new Beetle has its base covered and is all set to extend a long-running success story for Volkswagen. Its time for Mini, Fiat 500 and Smart to take notice and get into damage-limitation mode to protect their turf.

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