2016 Volkswagen Beetle Driving Impressions

The Beetle’s 1.8-liter turbocharged four makes 170 horsepower with a solid 184 pound-feet of torque, with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. It was a new engine last year, way better than the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder it replaced. It has plenty of power for most needs.

The R-Line makes 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, from its 2.0 turbo. It’s quicker of course than the 1.8T, but not that quick, no even with a light 3042 pounds of curb weight. That’s with the 5-speed, it’s a bit heavier with the 6-speed dual clutch. Well worth it. The VW dual clutch is the best going.

The Beetle gives a soft and comfortable ride, but still corners well, and fairly flat. The steering and brakes feel remote, however, lacking communication with the driver.

The cabin is noisy, especially the R-Lines. Wind, tire, and engine noise combine to make a dull roar.

The convertible chassis is a bit heavier and a bit more flexible, but it only feels different when you put the top down. Suddenly the Beetle makes sense. After all, we did say that the Beetle’s identity was happiness.

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