In the driver's seat, I noticed that left to its own, the DGS transmission had a tendency to move through the gears to get to the higher and more fuel-efficient gears quickly. This helped me average 26 miles per gallon in combined city/highway/country roads travel, but it didn't make the Beetle feel spunky.
So, I used Tiptronic manual shifting — which doesn't require a clutch pedal - to manage the shifting myself and get a decidedly more sporty experience. It was easy to time the shifts for impressively smooth shifts.
Torque came on strongly and peaks at 207 foot-pounds at a low 1,700 rpm with the turbo.
I had no problem squealing tires now and then at startup from stop signs, even though the Beetle Turbo weighs 3,089 pounds and feels solid and stable, not a lightweight small car. In comparison, the 2012 Civic Coupe weighs some 2,600 to 2,700 pounds, depending on equipment included.
Still, to get the peak performance from the Beetle Turbo, VW recommends premium gasoline, and at today's prices, that's $55 to fill up the 14.5-gallon tank. Using the federal government's estimated fuel economy for this model of 22 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway, the Beetle should go some 360 miles on a tank of gas.
The base Beetle engine — a 2.5-liter, non-turbo four cylinder developing 177 foot-pounds of torque at 4,250 rpm — only needs regular gasoline. Its government mileage rating is similar to that of the turbo, though — 22/29 mpg.
VW plans to add a fuel-thrifty diesel-powered Beetle in calendar 2012.
With underpinnings borrowed from the VW Golf, the Beetle rides and handles well and managed sweeping curves and aggressive maneuvers competently.
There's more trunk space in the 2012 Beetle — 15.4 cubic feet instead of 12 cubic feet. And the split rear seatbacks fold down, though not completely flat, and help boost the trunk room to nearly 30 cubic feet.
Standard safety equipment on the 2012 Beetle includes electronic stability control, curtain air bags and antilock brakes.
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