Volkswagen is thumping their clean diesel bible to great success. They’re also on a mission to increase the masculine appeal of the Beetle, which in years past has looked like it might have a tube of lipstick where the cigarette lighter should be. With the return of the diesel Beetle this year people of any gender have a new reason to give the people’s car another look. After taking one for a throttle-happy spin around downtown Portland I was reminded just how impressive VW’s TDI engines are. As for masculine appeal...
If the 2013 Beetle were a man I’d say the exterior makeover VW gave him has the appearance of a guy who’s comfortable with his sexuality and beginning to look less like an Audi TT, which go figure, Volkswagen owns as well. Under the skin guys and gals alike should welcome the return of the Beetle’s TDI engine option. The 2.0L turbo-diesel is good for 28mpg city and 41highway when mated to a six-speed manual.
Impressive as the mileage is the TDl Beetle’s 140hp and 236lb-ft torque is just as noteworthy. Compare those numbers to the Beetle Turbo, which supposedly carries the “Fun” engine option: A 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder good for 200hp, 207lb-ft of torque and 22city/30hwy.
Two hundred horses in the Beetle aren’t going to make it a rocket ship. Anyone looking for a good time might want to opt for the extra 30lb-ft of torque and 10mpg the TDI offers. The setup packs a punch off the line, saves money at the pump and makes you popular with environmental types.
When I was rowing through gears around the Oregon Convention Center I was yelled at by a horde of stinky bicyclists but they didn’t tell me to “get a bike!” That’s acceptance for a motorist in Portlandia.
Perhaps in an effort to remind buyers of a happy time when the Beetle was less gender-specific convertible bugs can now be outfitted in three decade edition models that draw on its styling cues from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. If you ask me the 50’s ensemble is lookin’ pretty good.