Handling "like Herbie" is a direct quote from VW marketing boss Luca De Meo. He's referring to the clean-sheet 2012 Beetle's new electronic front differential, which, according to Volkswagen, should allow for more nimble handling.
According to VW:
"To ensure that the power of the two strongest Beetle versions is applied properly to the road in quickly approached curves as well, the models with 160 PS (European version) and 200 PS (worldwide) come with a factory-installed XDS electronic differential lock. This system extends the familiar EDS functionality. XDS improves handling in fast curve driving and calibrates the car toward more "neutral" steering; it does this by using active brake intervention to prevent wheelspin of the unloaded wheel on the inside of the curve, and this improves traction."
The new, new Beetle is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, and will get a Turbo model with 200 hp and DSG that De Meo says will give it a very GTI-like quality. Gone is that cute flower vase too. It's part of the masculinization we've been talking about.
Another sign of masculinity might be one comment by VW's head designer here at the unveiling in New York City. He accidentally mentioned 20 inch alloys... but the Turbo model only gets 19s. Could that be a suggestion that a VW Beetle Turbo R might be on the way?