• Apr 18, 2011
2012 Volkswagen Beetle - Click above for high-res image gallery

Another icon has gone under the knife and emerged, well, only slightly differently iconic, but the changes made to the 2012 Beetle are only superficially slight. Volkswagen global marketing director Luca de Meo says of the car that was revealed simultaneously in New York, Berlin and Shanghai, "We worked on the entire packaging of the car, engine, trunk, interior, everything." Take a close look at it, and it's clear.

Marketing guru de Meo says VW laid out three objectives for the new hatchback: Bring back the spirit of the original, i.e., make it affordable, tough, and easy to use; reconnect with the emotion of the car; and bring the shape and concept of the original into the 21st century.

To achieve all that, Volkswagen's head of design, Klaus Bischoff, says they threw everything from the current Beetle out the window and had an original Beetle in the studio when they started the redesign in 2007. Working from those vintage cues, the 2012 car is stretched everywhere: it's 150 millimeters longer, 3.2 inches wider, and has a wider track. The bonnet is longer, a look exacerbated by the cabin being pushed back and the windshield being more upright and closer to the driver. The finished product even looks different compared to the car we saw in spy shots back in January.

Continue reading New York 2011: VW Beetle live reveal...

Live Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

The window graphic has also been stretched and continues around the car in a more cohesive line. At the bottom, the car is lowered and the revealed hatchback wears oversized alloys. Bischoff says, "the masculine feeling we wanted to achieve is based on really big wheels." Inside, there are body-colored elements on the dash and steering wheel spokes, and ambient lighting that can be changed from red to white to blue.

But that bit about masculinity is the real takeaway. When de Meo lists the most important alterations to the "monument," they are the XDS electric front differential that make the Beetle "more nimble, agile – it makes it behave like the movie car Herbie;" the fact that the 200-horsepower turbocharged motor makes this a "toy for a boy;" and the Fender audio that includes some first-time features such as the Panasonic technology in the tweeters.

The aim is to communicate that the Beetle isn't just for women anymore. Even as the car is meant to be more emotional, VW USA head Jonathan Browning says the German automaker wants to keep the women who have sponged up the car, but expand its demographic and make the car more global. de Meo adds, "We want to make a statement without making compromises, to get out of niche and into core demand in many markets."

The 2012 Beetle will go on sale sometime in September or October, priced "very competitive in the mainstream of the marketplace" according to Browning.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Down with Jetta! Up with new Beetle!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very nice, solid lines. A Keeper!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm seriously taken aback by how desirable this is...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I kinda like it
        • 3 Years Ago
        Here's a close up of the rear and lights for a better perspective.. http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/vw_black_beetle_rear.jpg
      • 3 Years Ago
      i would drive that black one with the retro 19" wheels
      • 3 Years Ago
      Definitely looks more mature & masculine
      • 3 Years Ago
      this is actually a lot cooler than i thought it would be, the new trapezoid bumper and flat hood really man it up
      • 3 Years Ago
      They did a much better job on this than the Jetta refresh, the interior is straight forward but very nice. Unlike the Jetta where everyhting screams rental car!
      David H
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like the love-child of the original Audi TT and the "new Beetle"... I was prepared to hate it, but finally seeing it on production form, I really like this. Agree with several posters that VW has managed to "masculine-ize" it, both inside and especially, outside, but will in no way turn off the female buyers. If it drives as nice as I hope, it looks like a fun vehicle for anyone. Good job, VW!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I dare say, I like it. Now, let's slap some long arm suspension under this thing and bring it back to the dunes! :)
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Much better looking than the previous generation, but still easily recognizable as a beetle. Nice job VW! My only nit-pick is I wish it was still rear-engine and rwd, as that was one of the things that made the original bug somewhat unique, but it's easily understandable why they switched to front-engine/FWD.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see a lot of 911 in there... Looks good. I would buy one as long as it drive as good as it looks.
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