The new Volkswagen Beetle was unveiled earlier this week at the New York Auto Show to a warm reception from the press. The looks have changed, the performance has increased, and the new Beetle is decidedly more male-friendly. Gone is in-dash vase full of faux flowers, the Beetle traded those in for some much-needed in-car technology. So what's changed? The 2012 Beetle will come with three engine options: a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder, 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel, and a 2.0-liter turbo. The latter two can be outfitted with VW's 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission for better performance and fuel economy.

On the outside, the Beetle's retro visage is now updated with bi-xenon headlights with LED arcs for the daytime.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Interior

The interior houses most of the options that you and I are concerned with. A new 400-watt Fender audio system with subwoofer is optional over the standard 8-speaker system (up from six speakers on the original "New" Beetle). Choosing the Fender audio system also adds adjustable interior lighting.

Beetle comparisonFor the first time ever the Beetle will have an optional 5-inch touchscreen navigation system. If it's similar to what's in the new Jetta, then expect a great interface. And, keeping with the retro meets modern look, the 2012 Beetle will have optional gauges (oil temperature, clock with stopwatch, and boost pressure) above the nav system on the dash.

Finally, the Beetle gets a new proxy-key that senses when the driver is nearby and unlocks the doors when the handle is touched. The other feature of this technology is push button start.

Nothing here is bleeding-edge technology, but the features offered should allow Volkswagen to attract younger buyers with a reasonable price, reported to be in the low $20,000 range. Considering how long it took to update the old New Beetle, it's important for VW to start with a good base. Which, it appears, they've done.


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