The highlight on the Volkswagen display at the Australian International Motor Show, according to them, is the all-new Beetle and the Passat Alltrack. Truth be told The Beetle looks a marked improvement on the old new Beetle. We doubt it will sell in any great volume, but with any luck it’s a favourable improvement.
After Australia landed the Audi A4 allroad quattro it’s a pleasant surprise to see the Passat Alltrack in display. It’s extra clearance and beefed up appearance will be sure to appeal to many buyers.
We were pleasantly surprised by the level of finish and feeling of solidity provided by the up! It may drive a bit differently, we don’t know yet, but it certainly feels like a quality machine.
Also included below are a number of general images from the Volkswagen stand.
UPDATE 20 October: Press releases from Volkswagen Australia for the Beetle (launching in early 2013) and the Passat Alltrack (launching next month with a sub-$50K price) have been added below.
Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
The Beetle – An icon debuts at 2012 Australian International Motor Show
A look back to the start: at the beginning Volkswagen built one of the most successful cars of all time and did not even give it a name. Why should it? After all, it was the Volkswagen! People loved it, and on all of the world’s continents the small car was nicknamed according to precisely what it looked like: Beetle, Käfer, Vocho, Coccinelle, Fusca or Maggiolino! It embodied the automotive concept itself and symbolised the democratisation of mobility. 21.5 million cars were sold. Then the New Beetle arrived in 1998. It introduced a new automotive feeling to the world and brought with it Beetle Mania. In 2010, the last production of the New Beetle series ended, it had sold more than one million cars. And now? The future of the most famous car in the world begins again. It’s The Beetle!
Technological goal: high-tech in harmony with the environment
Beetle is an icon. This car tells a story. Only someone who knows its history could make a new generation of this Volkswagen a reality. The task for the engineers was very clear. They had to develop a high-tech car that was still affordable, yet integrated with the communication technologies of our times, and of course achieved the lowest environmental impact. It also had to be a car that places driving fun at the forefront. The new generation Beetle would have to be a very agile, dynamic performer.
Design target: “Design a new original!”
The most recognisable automotive design in the world. Coke bottle, iPhone, Ray Ban Aviator, Beetle – how does one reinvent a design that is so recognisable and independent? There is a clear answer to this: It is necessary to understand the product and the brand. Volkswagen Design Chief Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) “understand” both and therefore they set this as the objective for the Beetle: “Design a new original!”
The team began its task under Bischoff’s guidance. The challenge of designing a new Beetle was inspiring. The designers knew that they wanted to develop the original Beetle profile more than on the 1998 New Beetle. They also made very dynamic proportions a high priority. An interesting aspect was that more than a few team members actually own their own air-cooled Beetles. It has also become a cult car among younger designers at Volkswagen. And that is how the final design of the 2011 Beetle came to be in Wolfsburg – a car of today as well as a design tribute to the automotive seed of an entire corporate group. And unmistakable indeed: If one were to take the first Beetle and the new Beetle and place them in a room together – shining light just over the roofs and viewing them from the side – one would see that the lines of the rear sections are nearly identical.
Bolder, more dynamic, more masculine. A comparison to the 1998 New Beetle shows this: nothing remained as it was on the old car: The Beetle is now characterised by a clean, self-confident and dominant sportiness. The car not only has a lower profile; it is also substantially wider, the front bonnet is longer, the front windscreen is shifted further back and has a much steeper incline. The new Beetle is bolder, more dynamic, more masculine.
The new focal point is the C-pillar. In parallel, the development team increased the car’s track widths and wheelbase. All of this gives the Beetle a powerful appearance with muscular tension.
Typical Volkswagen, typical Beetle: a new DNA
New styling. Despite all of its individuality, the styling follows the Volkswagen design DNA created by Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff. It clearly expresses itself in the horizontal image of the front bumper, front air inlet, straight lines of the bonnet edges, the precisely drawn line between the A-pillar and C-pillar and the styling of the rear lights.
Beetle, Kombi, original Golf. And yet it was possible to preserve all of the Beetle’s typical styling characteristics. This should come as no surprise; after all, it was vehicles like the Beetle, Kombi and original Golf that had a decisive influence on Volkswagen’s”design DNA.” Of course, some of the Beetle’s longstanding characteristics remain: these include its round headlights (optional Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are available for the first time in this model series), the flared wings, the shape of the bonnet, sides and door sills and – more than ever – the large wheels that can be integrated.
An original interior like no other
The cockpit makes a visual impression. Car drivers sit in the cockpit. Sometimes for hours at a time. And yet, there are cars whose cockpits do not leave any lasting impression. The Beetle’s cockpit is unique, unmistakable, cool, classic and designed with a passion for detail. This cockpit is perceived as something special.
Everything within reach and sight. Three round instruments arranged in front of the driver (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge) provide all key information; integrated in the speedometer (middle position) is a multifunction display. The shape and use of colour in the front facia panel of the dashboard hark back to the design of the first Beetle, yet the new car does not have a retro look. The audio/navigation systems are optimally located in the driver’s visual field on the dashboard and framed by two air vents. This also includes the controls for the climate control system. Everything is within grasp and sight.
Comeback of the glovebox. Similar to the original Beetle, the new car has an extra glovebox integrated in the front facia whose lid folds upward (the standard glovebox that is also integrated opens downward). Another classic feature: the optional auxiliary instruments above the selected audio/navigation system: oil temperature, clock with stopwatch function and boost pressure gauge. Also new: the steering wheels specially designed for the Beetle with painted accents in the spokes. Details like these clearly indicate that the occupants are in a Beetle – there’s no mistaking it.
Air-cooled Beetle. New Beetle. The Beetle. A distinguishing feature of The Beetle – the third generation if you will – is that its interior ergonomics and packaging are based on completely new parameters. While drivers in the air-cooled Beetle travelled in a very lowslung seat, and drivers of the New Beetle felt as if they were chauffeured because the bonnet was so far forward, the latest Beetle now offers an agile, driver-oriented coupé experience. Every feature is within easy reach. In addition, Volkswagen has once again succeeded in implementing a quality of materials that goes beyond its class. The car’s styling, ergonomics, operability and quality interact to create a new, friendly car with a highly individual nature.
New engine for the Beetle
The Beetle will be offered exclusively with the 1.4 litre TSI twincharged petrol engine with 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque. This engine is being used for the first time in this model and is coupled with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG transmission.
Full specifications and pricing of The Beetle will be released at launch in early 2013.
Volkswagen Passat Alltrack debuts at Australian International Motor Show
- Higher ground clearance, new off-road design
- 4MOTION all-wheel drive
- Loaded with features and a sharp sub-$50k pricing
Volkswagen extends its best-selling Passat model range with another specialist: the Passat Alltrack. This new version closes the gap between Passat Wagon and SUVs such as the Touareg. The new model is defined by SUV-style bumpers – with wheel well and side sill arches. Its greater off-road ramp angle, approach angle, departure angle and higher ground clearance all make the Passat Alltrack an excellent SUV alternative. The Alltrack makes its Australian debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
Power and performance
Powered by Volkswagen’s 125kW 2.0-litre TDI engine, the Passat Alltrack is also equipped with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a dual clutch transmission (DSG). While the Alltrack’s turbocharged diesel engine makes a potent 350Nm of torque, the Alltrack maintains the kind of frugal fuel consumption Volkswagen owners expect; with combined fuel economy of just 6.3l/100 km, thanks to the standard BlueMotion Technologies.
The declared goal of Volkswagen’s designers was to reflect the Alltrack’s all-road competence with functional styling. In the area of the side profile, for example, the classic wheel housings and side sill arches are used; offering functionality and rugged protection. In interplay with the higher ground clearance, the underbody protection panels are integrated front and rear, further establishing a link between passenger cars and SUVs designs.
Dimensions in detail
At a length of 4,881mm, the Passat Alltrack is slightly longer than the Passat Wagon (4,771mm). Despite the wheel housing arches, its width remains identical at 1,820mm. The Passat Alltrack has a ground clearance of 165mm, an approach angle of 16 degrees and a departure angle of 13.6 degrees.
Off-road driving program
Volkswagen SUV drivers are familiar with the “off-road function”, a driving program offered on the Touareg. For the first time at Volkswagen, this clever, multifunctional system is available in a Passat Alltrack. The driver activates this programme by pressing an Off-road button on the centre console. Specifically, the settings for the safety and driver assistance systems and DSG control are modified as follows:
Safety systems: The anti-lock braking system (ABSplus) is now characterised by higher thresholds for control intervals; on loose road surfaces such as gravel, a wedge of road substrate is formed in front of the tyres to decelerate the vehicle even more effectively. At the same time, the electronic differential locks (EDL) react quicker to prevent wheelspin at individual wheels. The engine’s torque control (ASR) is modified in parallel.
Driver assistance systems: Hill descent assist is automatically activated at a descent angle greater than 10 degrees; braking the vehicle while functions of the optional adaptive cruise control (ACC) and Front Assist are deactivated.
4MOTION all-wheel drive
The Passat Alltrack is delivered with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Normally, the front axle is the primary drive axle in the Passat Alltrack 4MOTION; while the rear axle only gets ten per cent of the drive torque, saving on fuel. The rear axle is gradually engaged depending on the specific driving and road situation.
Pricing and standard features
The Passat Alltrack comes with an impressive list of standard features, and maintains the kind of sharp, competitive pricing synonymous with Volkswagen, with a starting price under $50,000.
In terms of safety, the Passat Alltrack comes with eight airbags, daytime running lights, ESP and a fatigue detection system; while in keeping with the rest of the Passat range, the Alltrack also features standard satellite navigation, rear view camera and a power tailgate, plus a leather-appointed interior.
Full specifications and pricing of the Passat Alltrack will available at launch later this month.