Review: Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI, an icon redefined [+Video]


This is not your grandparents’ Beetle. That’s the first thing I thought of when I laid eyes on it. Sure, we’ve all probably seen plenty of pictures on the interwebs and publications at one point or another, but how many of us do actually get to see it up close in person, much less drive it? So yes, I got lucky.

Watch the video review of the Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI here

QUICK FACTS

Name VW The Beetle 1.4 TSI
Segment C-Segment Coupe
Engine 1,390cc 4-Cylinder Twincharger (160hp, 240Nm)
Price RM 180,888 (OTR without Insurance)

 

This, is a car with a long heritage. The first incarnation of its kind, the Volkswagen Type 1 rolled off the assembly lines in 1938. It was meant as a inexpensive and simple car to be mass-produced for a nation from another time in history.

The Ferdinand Porsche-designed Käfer (German for the word “beetle”) with its long production run, along with many iterations, ended in 2003 with a total of 21,529,464 units built. A monumental feat for an iconic car.

Some liked it for its looks. Some, for its robust chassis. Some, for its performance and reliability. Whatever the reason it may be for everyone else, it’s undeniable that this is a very popular car.

A true People’s Car.

Watch the video review of the Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI here

EXTERIOR

This is the successor to the New Beetle that continued that lineage in 1998. It’s a whole lot more angular, leaner yet strangely fluid while at the same time does a better job than its predecessor to reference the iconic shape that the Type 1 had.

Visually, there are subtle differences between the Beetle variants. What sets this apart from the others are the bold black lower sills, black side mirror housings, 17-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust and the not-so-subtle 2-toned mid lid boot spoiler.

Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI review - AutoBuzz.my

 

Make no mistake, this car is a looker. I had more stares from onlookers while I was driving this than I ever had with…err, anything I’ve driven before. Because frankly, my daily beater is plain dull.

I do suspect however, that the stares come quizically with “was this driven by a guy or a lady?”. Probably because it was red in colour or the general misconception that it was mainly associated with having a feminine outlook.

I have never been so self-conscious until I drove this thing. I can feel them judgemental eyes. All that however, quickly replaced with the turbines spooling up and kicking up dust at their face. *fist bump the screen here if ya know what I mean*

INTERIOR

The futuristic/retro, sleek design language on the dashboard is like a page out of those magazines you see about car manufacturers from the 50’s imagining how the future would look like.

VW’s obsession for piano black finishing is very apparent here. The gloss on this thing is absurdly flashy, lavishly lined with chromed bits and polished metal here and there. Like the gearknob you see below.

 

Then there’s the accelerator pedal. I’m a huge sucker for floor-hinged pedals. The kind of pedals you see on race cars. The old Beetle had them too. So naturally, it’s a big plus for me.

Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI review - AutoBuzz.my

In this edition, VW has brought back the Kaeferfach glove box. Simply put, the “Beetle Bin”. The hatch pops upwards and reveal a second compartment for gadgets you can’t live without, or as our friendly neighborhood Chief Editor pointed out, his trademark white Oakleys!

EFFICIENCY

Let’s get something out of the way: Fuel Consumption. The Beetle 1.4 TSI is rated at 6.2l/100km. At best, I did a measly 10.6l/100km. Why, you ask? Let me be clear, since this is my first article and all. I have a very heavy right foot and a habit of late braking with my left.

Let’s be completely honest here. If you were handed the key to a car like this and told to spend the weekend driving it, what would be the first thing that comes to mind? You have a go at it and by it, i mean flooring the accelerator.

So, having done a whole lot worse than 10.6l/100km, i decided to abandon the whole “fuel efficient” approach and concentrate on other aspect instead. I may be wrong here but if you own a car that’s valued at RM183k and a twincharged one at that, do you honestly care about how much fuel she’s sipping?

Before i continue any further, I can’t stress enough that this particular Beetle is a test unit. She has probably gone through a lot of tests up until this point in time.

PERFORMANCE

Weighing in at 1373kg, The Beetle isn’t exactly lightweight but couple it with a twincharged TSI engine that produces 158hp @ 5800rpm and that healthy dose of 240Nm of torque that kicks in at a relatively low 1500-4500rpm, this car is very fast off the line. It is even more apparent when you’re powering out of the corners. The tires just stick to the ground like peanut butter on bread. Not…sure if that’s the best euphemism (or if this is even the correct word to use)…but yeah.

Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI review - AutoBuzz.,my

I managed 0-100km/h time of 8.6s. Point three of a second shy on what’s stated on paper. Considering that I weigh significantly more than an average German male, or an asian one at that, I dare say that the time achieved is pretty good. Also on paper, the car is capable of achieving a top speed of 207km/h. Sadly, i did not get to do that. You know, the law and all.

Watch the video review of the Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI here

THE DRIVE

Although the 2-door Coupe may have a tall cabin, the center of gravity is actually lower than you might think. It is 149mm longer, 88mm wider and 12mm lower than the previous New Beetle. That makes the overall ride stiffer, with minimal roll, which is good.

The car handles well while taking medium to high speed corners and does not feel “floaty” at higher speeds. Not that i condone doing all that on public roads but it’s nice to know the car is capable of achieving at least at much.

MK8C3744

All that aside, I particularly like the tactile feel of the paddle shift. Scratch that. I LOVE IT. It’s so well hidden right behind the steering wheel, that you wouldn’t know it’s there in the first place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just two small tabs protrude out from behind. Left for downshift and right for upshift, the way it should be on every other car. Shifting feels fluid on the 7-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG) on this car, it really does the job effortlessly.

IS IT FOR YOU?

As you’ll see in the video, I am going to echo some of the sentiments GC Mah made here. It is a fun car to drive. A means of escapism from the dull, mundane daily commute. If you’re single and have the means for it, then go for it. As a daily beater, the ride is perhaps a little bit too stiff for our roads. Practicality is key here.

COMPARISONS

With the New Mini Cooper recently launched in Malaysia, it’s a matter of time before it goes head to head with The Beetle. In fact, I’m counting on it. I would love to see a shoot out between these two.

 

VW The Beetle 1.4 TSIBMW Mini Cooper F56
ENGINE
Type1.4 litre 4-Cylinder Twincharger1.5 litre 3-Cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo
Displacementcc1,3901,499
Max Powerhp/rpm158 / 5800136 / 4,500-6,000
Max TorqueNm/rpm240 / 1500-4500220 / 1,250
Carburetion SystemTwinchargerMINI TwinPower Turbo
Fuel Tank CapacityL5540
STEERING
TypeElectric Power Steering (EPS)Electric Power Steering (EPS)
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission7-speed direct shift gearbox DSG6-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS
Overall Lengthmm42783821
Overall Widthmm18081932
Overall Heightmm14861414
Wheelbasemm25372495
Max Kerb weightkg13731,190
PERFORMANCE
Max Speedkm/h207210
0 – 100km/hsec8.37.8
PRICERMRM 180,888.00 without insuranceRM 178,888.00 without insurance

 

WILL I BUY IT?

Sadly, it’s above my pay grade. However, considering all the things that are said and done? I’m leaning towards Yes, practicality be damned. Now kick back, dim the lights, put on your headphones and go watch the video. Edited by me!

Watch the video review of the Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI here

Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI review - AutoBuzz.my

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VIDEO GALLERY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W9isVjVO-g

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IMAGE GALLERY


Daniel Tan

Daniel Tan

Video editor by day, editorial contributor by night. Drives like a self-controlled mad man, edits like an amateur. Wishes he was The Stig's fat asian cousin. He will drive the wheels off a fast car and the life off of you if you're unfortunate enough to be a passenger.
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