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A Boy! by Lesley Hazleton
PHOENIX — Back home in Atlanta, the VW New Beetle has completely overtaken the Toyota Celica as the car of choice for people who routinely call unrelated people “girlfriend.” This would be disconcerting for Volkswagen if there weren’t nearly 75,000 of these folks across the country with the desire and credit scores to buy New Beetles each year.
However, in this group, guys who don’t know the names of all four Golden Girls are notably absent. And that’s why VW is implanting a 180-hp turbo four into the New Beetle in the hopes of butching it up a little bit. Wouldn’t it be easier for the cast of Will & Grace to get picked up in the NBA’s supplemental draft, you ask? Well, maybe — but as it turns out, the Turbo S Beetle is first Bug to be interesting to those of us who don’t sign our names with a flower or a heart as punctuation.
Long ago — seven years hence, already? — Volkswagen decided it was time to get serious about making an economy car that didn’t look like a carton of eggnog. At some point, their vehicles had made a turn from frugal to frumpy and correction was required. They uncovered a New Beetle concept at the Detroit auto show in 1994 and simultaneously began an amazing sales recovery that only gained steam when the revived Bug actually hit the streets in 1998.
2002 Volkswagen New Beetle Turbo SEnlarge Photo