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.