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2014 Volkswagen Beetle Photo
7.0
/ 10
On Performance
On Performance
The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line retains its turbo thrust, while the new GSR adds some visual flair.
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

The initial impression is that you're driving a GTI, which is no great insult when you consider all the praise that's been heaped upon that hot little hatch. However, while similar, the two are not one. I think the steering's more vague and the ride seems harsher, though the Beetle feels slightly more nimble and tossable.
Motor Trend

As mentioned, our TDI test car had a six-speed manual, and it ran to 60 in 8.1 seconds and covered the 440-yard dash in 16.2 at 85 mph.
Car and Driver

Our blown Bug scoots along nicely, pulling strongly from corner to corner and even boiling the tires a bit when goosing it from rest.
Inside Line

Chassis rigidity is the cornerstone of good handling, and the new convertible gives a good account of itself in this regard. getting to 60 mph in under 7.5 seconds won't be any trouble
Road & Track

The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder easily scoots the 3089-pound coupe to autobahn speeds, where the car is solid and planted. Boost is nicely integrated and throttle response is linear, and the XDS front differential from the GTI is on hand in the Turbo to better put the power to the ground.
Automobile

Never quite slow, but not really quick either, even in R-Line trim, the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle seeks a performance balance and nearly finds it.

The 2014 model year will be an odd one for Beetle buyers: the first portion of the model year saw the 170-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder as the base engine, only to be replaced by a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, also rated at 170 horsepower, but with 16 percent greater efficiency. Slightly greater torque, available at lower rpm, could improve the driving experience over the somewhat pokey 2.5-liter.

Step up to the Beetle R-Line, which replaces the Beetle Turbo for 2014, and you'll get a 210-horsepower, 207-pound-foot 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

The extra power gives the R-Line noticeable pep and passing ability, but it still isn't quite what you'd call quick, despite the relatively light 3,042-pound curb weight of the manual-equipped car.

In either form, the Beetle is comfortable and soft-seeming under normal conditions, but manages to corner well, with no undue body roll in more spirited outings. None of the controls--steering and brakes especially--offer much in the way of communication with the driver, however.

Convertible models are a bit less rigid and a touch heavier, but the experience isn't significantly changed--unless you put the top down. Then the Beetle's easy-going attitude makes even more sense.

The most Beetle-feeling Beetle might be the TDI Clean Diesel, however. With only 140 horsepower, you might think it's the slowest of the bunch, but its 236 pound-feet of torque boost the fun factor. A shorter rev range and slight lag from the 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder are overcome by the torque of the diesel, making third gear a highly tractable back-road companion.

Whichever Beetle you're after, they share a common sense of fun and simplicity behind the wheel that's refreshing--even when packing a turbocharger and a dual-clutch transmission.

Conclusion

The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line retains its turbo thrust, while the new GSR adds some visual flair.

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