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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Driven Page 3

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One touch that you're probably going to like is the Beetle Turbo's exhaust note; we can tell that VW has put some effort into giving it more of a pulsating sound like that of the old air-cooled cars. That, plus the additional upper glovebox, were enough to tease out some nostalgia for a former Super Beetle owner.

Our test car also had a couple of persistent rattles—one having to do with the passenger-side door panel, the other possibly around the sound-system enclosure, which didn't seem to be fitting very well or tightly in that vehicle.

As for the sound of the new Fender system itself, it's clear, punchy, and well-rounded—neither the muddy, bass-heavy system that VW had gone to with its Monsoon systems years ago nor the overly crisp systems of recent years.

The 2012 Beetle starts at just $18,995—that's with the base five-cylinder engine, and we haven't yet driven this likely less-charming variant—but our test Beetle Turbo carried a bottom-line price of $29,685. And it did include navigation, a large panoramic sunroof, full leather, heated front seats, alloy pedals, Bluetooth, and the Fender sound system.

Design and charm have a price tag

Is still that a bargain or not? What it really amounts to is how you see the Beetle. If its styling and features, and its different, more daring look is what you want—but it doesn't matter that you don't have a full-fledged sports car, or even a car with serious performance chops—then the Beetle might be right for you. On the other hand, we see a lot of really well done interiors on inexpensive cars, and $30k seems high for the quality of the Beetle Turbo's interior trims.

The gist of it is that, with this car's better alignment with the GTI, the Beetle now feels more like the previous Audi TT from behind the wheel—a confident driving machine with a lot of design flare and attitude—than as an oddly laid-out vehicle that's living off the past. There's nothing embarrassing here, and the Beetle is straightforward and sporty; if a modern take on a classic design is your thing, there's no reason not to drive it and enjoy it.

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