The new 'masculinized' design of the new Beetle suits the GSR look, however. It may be silly nostalgia, but it's nicely done.
On the Road
The GSR's turbo 4 has added 10 extra hp from previous models, and that extra jolt definitely helps. It's a peppy, sprightly, and deft hatchback. Steering and suspension are well-tuned, and acceleration is dependably immediate. The six-speed manual transmission is a must-have for this car, and that, too has been well tuned. Add to that the R-Line's 12.3-inch disc brakes and you have enough serious driving capability to easily compete with the Veloster, 500 Abarth, and Civic Sis with which it shares market space.
You gotta love the classic Yellow Black Beetle. At least that's what some people might think. We found the styling obnoxious, but if you forego the yellow paint and go with the white or silver options, you can still have your nice bold black stripes. As we said, however, the redesigned Beetle carries the look of the original GSR pretty well. The main objective of the latest new Beetle design was to rid the new Bug of that dreaded 'chick car' stigma (removing the bud vase was an obvious step), and this new GSR seems to be a further attempt to remind people of the old old Beetle, as opposed to the old new Beetle.
The interior has the typical VW austerity to it, but the yellow stitching and garish GSR badge over the glove compartment ruin an otherwise respectable interior. The Fender sound system is capable, although why anyone would think to associate Fender - a brand known for making guitars and guitar amps - with high fidelity remains a mystery. Panasonic actually makes the sound systems, in case you care.
The GSR is a tremendously fun car tailored for an extremely specific buyer. A good ol' R-Line model will do you just as nicely if you don't care about specifically trying to relive the year 1973. And as far as nostalgia trips go, this is one that is definitely all about the journey.
Specs & Price Engine:
turbocharged inline-4 Transmission:
6-speed manual Power Output:
210 horsepower, 207 lb.-ft. torque Fuel Economy:
21 mpg (City) / 30 mpg (hwy) Price:
Sport seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, Fender premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, steering-wheel plaque displaying limited-edition production number.