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Those words were a Detroit marketing mantra in the 1950s, when the original Volkswagen Beetle began its march to immortality here in the U. But of course the thing that made the Bug so lovable, and such a counterculture icon, was that it possessed none of those traits.
Fast-forward to now: Here’s a Beetle that is, in fact, longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor.
Our test subject’s 2.5-liter five-cylinder paired with the optional six-speed automatic is not a combination we equate with wheeled entertainment.It might have been even better if the stability control could be defeated, but it can’t.Test sheet notes suggest a reason for this: “No stability-off switch because the Germans think you are a bad driver.”Braking is another performance element that could be improved—good pedal feel, so-so 70-to-0-mph stopping distance (176 feet).But if retro doesn’t apply to the three-gauge (speedo, tach, fuel gauge) cluster, familiar certainly does, at least to anyone who’s been inside a recent Golf or Jetta.This also applies to the HVAC controls and center stack in general. When pressed, the Beetle’s five-cylinder emits an agreeable growl, but in most operating situations it’s subdued, and very little wind or road noise filters into the cabin.