The latest from the Volkswagen bunker in Wolfsburg is that the second-generation New Beetle (henceforth to be known mercifully as 'Beetle') is officially dropping its towel to the floor at the Shanghai Motor Show in April. Whooda thunk it just five years ago? The Beetle is an American pop phenomenon, and it smarts a bit to have lost even that cachet to the all-powerful Chinese venue.
Early word on the Beetle is that it is dynamically far sportier than the outgoing matzoh-ball built exclusively for people desperate for cutesy-ness and absolute symmetry. Oh, yes, and rear passengers without heads.
While Europe is not intended to get the sensational 335-horsepower "W28" in-line five-cylinder turbo seen so far in both the Audi TT RS and RS3, it would seem there is a plot afoot to bring such a Beetle to North America. "The Beetle," a source in Wolfsburg tells Autoblog, "is so much sportier now. It's much more appealing to male buyers as well." Some off-the-record remarks tell of a Beetle thus equipped that is better on the track than another VW R coupe that North America sadly still doesn't get.
The message? No more dung beetles.
[Images: KGP Photography]