Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI (DSG) Review: Love bug

Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI (DSG) Review: Love bug

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
10 Apr 2013
What we like:
Grown-up masculine design that resembles the 911
What we dislike:
Firm ride at low speed
vague steering

Volkswagen’s brilliant twin charged 1.4-litre lives under the Beetle hood and churns out a decent 160bhp at 5,800rpm and 240Nm of torque from as low as 1,500rpm. Accelerate from low revs and a slight supercharger whine can be heard from the cabin. Give it some more and the exhaust turns into a rorty growl.

Overtaking is a breeze with the low range torque available. Off the line, the Beetle dispatches the century sprint in a decent time of 8.3 seconds.

With the latest Beetle, Volkswagen has made it a point to introduce dynamism into the chassis. In the twisty bits, their efforts can be felt through the heavier steering weight in the electro mechanical rack but fails in providing tactile feedback or precision for the enthusiast driver. That aside, cornering grip is vastly improved over the older model. No doubt, a direct result of the wider track and larger tires used here.

On the highway, ride quality is reasonably comfortable though the Beetle doesn’t fair well within city roads. The ride quality does get fidgety in low speed high frequency bumps that result from broken or uneven tarmac.

Driving enthusiasts will take more interest in the anticipated 2.0-litre variant that will feature a multi-link suspension geometry that’s closer to the Golf and promises much better dynamics.


The latest Beetle is a success in breathing masculinity into a much loved design but gets only marginal points for handling. No doubt the handling has improved over the older model but is still some ways off when compared to its more illustrious Golf sibling.

But the latter will impact little on the Beetle’s sales figures as its novelty nostalgic factor will take precedence over its other shortcomings.

If nothing else, you will be attracted by the frugal 16km/l 1.4-litre and the $5,000 CEVS rebate that this Beetle enjoys.

Related articles:

Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI (A)

Volkswagen Golf Sport 1.4 TSI (A)

Credits: Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline

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