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Road Test

Volkswagen Beetle 10th Anniversary Edition

by Stephen Walker

27th October, 2008

Volkswagen Beetle 10th Anniversary Edition (copyright image) 
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Few cars are as easily identified by the masses as a Volkswagen Beetle. The iconic "people's car" is one of the world's most highly recognised post-WWII symbols of mobility. Beetles were manufactured and enjoyed around the world. Even today, the highly-prized Beetle (particularly those of the older variety) still provide immense satisfaction to car enthusiasts as the Beetles continue their epic journey into motoring's future.

Ten years ago, Volkswagen released a new Beetle for the world to admire. This retro-styled delight on wheels updated the traditional Beetle-look and, coupled with modern day technology, provided a trendy small car for the world. It became VW's contribution to the emerging trend towards "lifestyle" motoring.

With an engine upfront and a boot in the rear, the new Beetle couldn't be more different to the original (of which more than 21 million came off the production line). To celebrate the first decade of the new Beetle, Volkswagen have released a 10th Anniversary limited edition. And we take the opportunity, during a road test, to give it quite a 'run'.

We managed to complete some 2,638 kms in the Beetle 10th Anniversary Edition during a drive from Melbourne to Sydney and back again.

The test car was fitted with the optional 6 speed automatic transmission. Also fitted was the optional sunroof.

Stephen Walker with the Volkswagen Beetle 10th Anniversary Edition (copyright image) 

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Prices for this desirable limited edition begin at $27,990 (RRP) for a 5 speed manual version. The auto is optional at $2,300, whilst the sunroof is $1,890.

The new Beetle 10th Anniversary is powered by the familiar 1.6 VW engine. It provides 75 kW of power at 5,600 rpm and 148 Nm of torque at 3,800 rpm.

The 6 speed automatic transmission is particularly suitable to this engine. In fact, the engine and transmission combination is one of the many highlights of this limited edition model.

Other admired features include the very comfy upfront seating. The front seat bolsters and driver's lumbar support, together with the very nicely presented 'leatherette' trim, made for an attractive interior that was fully satisfying for all 2,638 kms.

Volkswagen's standard flower, mounted on the dashboard, is included for the anniversary. Also included are worthy features such as 4-way adjustable steering column, power windows, cruise control, single disc CD player, driver's footrest, four airbags, self-locking doors (upon take-off) and dark tinted side and rear windows.

On the road, the new Beetle impresses with its compliant ride and good steering, braking and suspension qualities. As indicated, the automatic transmission was well suited to the engine. Although not overly powerful, the Beetle gets along quite well and, in auto guise, uses 8.1 litres of petrol per 100 kms on the combined cycle (VW's figures - using the traditional methods for the calculation, to enable comparison with other cars).

The small boot warrants close inspection if you need a lot of luggage space. And I couldn't find an external boot release! Small door pockets are fitted for tiny carry-on luggage (such as a diary).

Volkswagen Beetle 10th Anniversary Edition (copyright image) 

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To me, this 10th Anniversary model of the well known Volkswagen Beetle is an excellent package. And it's not just the trendy styling which is, of course, an excellent way to pay homage to the original Beetle. It is also because of the comfy seating upfront which is provided by quite attractive black and creamy white leatherette trim (unique to the anniversary model). There is, also, the excellent automatic transmission and the compliant 'nature' of the ride. These all combine to make the entire package one that is very easy to admire.

The only thing missing is the chaff-cutter sound of the Beetle from way back in the good old days. And, in my opinion, this unique audible contribution to our heritage should be listed as a treasure! Otherwise, wouldn't it be nice if there was an electronic reproduction which could play, in the background, through the car's audio system (with the volume controlled by the engine revs)!

This is one 'limited edition' which is, indeed, a celebration. The 10th Anniversary of the new Volkswagen Beetle has provided quite a desirable piece of machinery.

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Other Volkswagen content: here.

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