We got a VW press release today that announced a new limited edition, the "Beetle Classic," which will be a nostalgia-inspired version of the latest Beetle, and will be the least expensive, starting at $20,195. Too bad they chickened out on using some real "classic" colors.
The Beetle Classic is basically the Beetle 1.8T automatic but with the 17" Heritage wheels (the ones that look like '68 and up vintage Beetle wheels) and
a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped shifter knob and handbrake lever, Sirius XM® Satellite Radio, an RNS® 315 navigation system, a multifunction steering wheel, two-tone brown "Sioux" leatherette and checked cloth seating surfaces, comfort front seats with driver's side lumbar support, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
All that stuff is actually pretty good for around $20K, and the two-tone interior is really quite fetching. It needs a manual option, of course, but maybe they'll wise up at some point and offer that. The 1.8 turbo four actually provides some decent power for a car of this class, making 170HP/177 lb-ft and still getting a decent 33 MPG highway.
What bothers me is this part:
The car is available in three colors—Pure White, Black Uni, and Reflex Silver—and has an understated retro look inside and out.
The understated retro look is great, but those three colors — white, silver, and black — are the most candy-assed, least adventurous set of colors I can imagine, as well as being completely counter to the whole "understated retro" theme of the car.
Low-end cars, like high-end cars, can get away with some real colors. Leave the boring, ubiquitous whites and silvers to the boring middle of the market, grow a pair of balls or ovaries (your choice) and make some real colors available.
Just to compare, let's look at what colors were available for a real "classic" Beetle, forty years ago:
Look at that fantastic set of 1974 colors. Between the standard Beetle and Super Beetle they still offered a white and a black, but along with those were six other colors, and they were unashamed, vivid, real colors. Yellow, red, an orange, blue, green, and even a Wrigley's gum-beige. Volkswagen should have taken things up a notch and offered some classic colors as well. Parking lots are boring seas of neutrals as it is, and a few vivid Beetles would be welcome.
This complaint aside, I'm glad to see VW making an edition to honor Beetles past, and, even if the engine's in the wrong place and cooled by the wrong stuff, this seems like a nice, non-boring entry-level car. I think the recent redesign of the modern version of the Beetle lends itself well to a bit of retro look without becoming a cartoon, not an easy trick to pull off. I like it. But in yellow, please.