The original Beetle had the transverse air-cooled engine which had a RR layout (rear engine, rear wheel drive). The New Beetle, however, has a front mounted transversely placed liquid cooled engine which powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission (FF layout). The New Beetle sold in India has 8-valve1984cc powerplant which produces a maximum power of 114bhp and a maximum torque of 172Nm@3200rpm. This is the same engine which was seen on the Skoda Octavia 2.0-litre petrol. After all, same blood runs in the family (Skoda Auto is a part of the Volkswagen Group.)
This powerplant is an older design as it sports only 8-valves with two for each cylinder. The engine is highly refined and revs freely upto 6500rpm. This engine is adequate to push “The Bug”, but we would have been happier to see the 160bhp 1.8TSI powerplant. The Beetle is not all about performance and quarter mile runs, yet in our performance test, the Beetle clocked 0-100km/hr in 14.1 seconds and did a quarter mile in 19.4seconds.
The new Beetle comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic, though we would have liked to see a DSG box which comes fitted in most of the new VW cars. The transmission upshifts smoothly in the drive mode and the car cruises in overdrive at a speed of 65-70km/hr.
When you plant your right foot, the transmission takes a while to downshift and even the manual shifting takes a while to downshift. This is where the DSG box comes handy. In our in-gear tests, the Beetle took 2.9 seconds to clock from 30-50km/hr and it took 4.1 seconds to reach from 50-70km/hr.
The 8-valve SOHC gasoline engines have lower efficiency when compared to the new 16-valve DOHC engines hence any hope of fuel efficiency should be put to rest. The Beetle, however, delivers an overall average of 11.3kmpl which isn’t bad considering it to be a 2.0-litre petrol. When driven pedal to metal in our test, the New Beetle returned a fuel economy of 7.86kmpl.