Recently, I have been driving around Mumbai in Volkswagen’s 21st Century Beetle doing a whole host of luxurious things and visiting some glitzy addresses. (You can read about a day in my life as a luxury blogger here) However, that post was merely a slice of my life as a luxury blogger in the city. Many of the car geeks out there have asked me to do a detailed post on the car and how I perceived it. So here goes.
For most of us, the Volkswagen Beetle is a popular icon, which needs no introduction. However, for those unfamiliar with the heritage of this unmistakable car, here’s a short backgrounder.
The Beetle you see here today, is separated by about 70 years and approximately 22 million sales from the original People’s Car created by Ferdinand Porsche. This 21st Century Beetle has driven through the past seven decades to emerge as the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Over the years, there have been regular updates and enhancements made by Volkswagen, the custodians of the iconic car.
To start with, looks can be deceiving and this is by no means a small vehicle. The wheelbase is actually slightly wider than that of the VW Jetta and the car commands its road presence!
I really adore its unmistakable curves and masculine proportions. The designers have done a good job of creating the spoiler at the meeting point of its neat sloping raked rear windscreen & the boot – adds a nice fun/youthful element to the car’s appeal.
Retaining the core DNA of the Beetle carline, this 21st Century Beetle certainly lives up to its promise of being a charming head-turner.
Think about it, you would normally only expect heads to turn on the road for a big, brash, loud fire-breathing machine. The new Beetle is none of those things, but I am willing to take challengers on for a head-turning contest on any of the popular seaside promenades of Mumbai where I can happily attest to swooning people over with the car’s quiet charm and cheerful appeal.
I’ve had absolutely no problems sprinting-off and gaining a significant lead on the traffic as soon as the light turns green as the India bound Beetle gets a nippy 1.4 Litre Turbocharged Petrol engine with a 7 speed DSG Automatic gearbox.
On the subject of safety, there are 6 airbags, ABS, Traction control & Electronic Stability Control
Now for the fun part! There’s a nice 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system situated in the middle of the dashboard as part of a navigation/audio system with all possible input options i.e., USB, AUX-IN & Bluetooth. The output is delivered via an 8 speaker sound system which does reproduce rich acoustics.
With generous leather upholstery, the cabin now has more of an upmarket, minimalistic feel, with high-grade materials and excellent build quality.
My favourite part about the car though, has to be its Panoramic Sunroof 😎
To summarise, this is a very practical car – as long as you don’t expect a lot – and with its low running costs, it’s a style statement that doesn’t demand a lot of compromises and yet feels every bit modern, expensive & the well-engineered machine that it is.
At the recent launch of the Beetle in India, Michael Mayer, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars confidently affirmed, “We are confident of continuing the Beetle’s legacy in India and we believe that the biggest addition to the 21st Century Beetle is the element of unlimited fun.”
FUN… We couldn’t agree more.
Volkswagen’s 21st Century Beetle is available in India at an ex-showroom (Mumbai) price of Rs. 28.73 lakhs.