VW Beetle (2011): the new spy photos

Published: 28 January 2011

These are the latest spy photos of the new 2011 Volkswagen Beetle, which will be unveiled this spring. Expect to see the new VW Bug around April/May time, away from the usual motor show schedule.

CAR’s new spy pictures of the Beetle reveal the car in its most production guise yet. But you should discount the enlarged bumpers and exaggerated rounded wheelarches – designed to mimic the look of the outgoing Beetle first launched in 1999 (the cabrio arrived in 2003).

The flatter roofline, glasshouse and bonnet visible all belong to the new 2011 Beetle. Our sources suggest the ‘three semi-circles’ Beetle look has been dumped as part of the modernisation of the Beetle.

So the new 2011 Beetle will be more modern, less kitsch?

Yep. Top management has already pointed out there will be no flower holder in this Beetle. It’s a sign that the 2011 Bug will be less wantonly retro, a touch more modern. We’ll see the coupe first in spring 2011, followed by the cabriolet later in 2011.

The style is clearly derived from the 2005 Ragster concept, a squatter, butcher vision of the Beetle. Expect the new Beetle, dubbed VW324/325 in Wolfsburgspeak, to be around 90mm longer than before and with a wider track.

That stretch allows for a bigger boot – up around 40 litres – and some 30mm more headroom. Under the fresh looks lie the innards of a Mk5/Mk6 Golf, with a mix of TSI and TDI engines for Europe, stretching from a 1.2 TSI to a GTI-sourced 2.0-litre turbo mustering 200bhp. Twin-clutch transmissions will be offered this time.

Is the Volkswagen Beetle a big seller?

It’s still a relatively niche product, although selling more than you might imagine for an impractical, pricey retro fashion accessory. In its peak year, VW flogged 9059 to Brits in 2001, but that slumped to 2448 in 2010 as fashions moved on and the car felt its age. That UK figure was split almost equally between coupe and cabriolet.

To put those figures in context, VW sold 58,000 Golfs last year in the UK alone.

The last of the current Beetles rolled off the Mexico production line in August 2010. The new 2011 Beetle will also be built in South America.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet