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Auto Show:  2012 Chicago Auto Show

VW to Debut Beetle TDI: Chicago Auto Show

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer January 2012
  • Volkswagen recently confirmed it will bring a turbodiesel Beetle to next month's Chicago Auto Show.
  • While Volkswagen didn't get into specifics, the Beetle TDI will likely use the same engine as its Golf and Jetta stablemates, which achieves 42 mpg in highway driving.
  • A convertible Beetle TDI is also reportedly a possibility in the future.

Volkswagen will roll out a turbodiesel version of its recently redesigned Beetle at next month's Chicago Auto Show. Scheduled to debut sometime this year, the highly efficient diesel-powered Beetle will join a gas-powered model that went on sale last fall.

While Volkswagen didn't announce any other details except to confirm the Beetle TDI's impending debut, we have a good idea about what to expect. For one, it's a virtual certainty the new model will use Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, which produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in the Golf, Jetta and Passat. According to the EPA, the Golf TDI returns an impressive 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 42 mpg on the highway, and we expect similar fuel economy figures in the upcoming Beetle.

We can also take a good guess at the Beetle's pricing and equipment levels. We'd expect standard equipment to add several convenience items to the base-level Beetle, including leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, an iPod interface and Bluetooth. And while we expect pricing to start in the mid-$20,000 range - a major boost over the $19,000 base price of the gas-powered Beetle - much of the difference will be offset in the hatchback's vastly improved gas mileage.

Although we'll have to wait until the Chicago Auto Show for final details, several sources are reporting that VW may even bring a diesel version of its new Beetle convertible to the States. If it does, the ragtop would be the very first convertible powered by a clean diesel engine ever offered on our shores.

The redesigned Beetle is already proving to be popular with consumers, recording more than 1,500 sales per month since going on sale in September. A convertible body style, expected to be called the Beetle Cabrio, will likely make its debut at an auto show sometime this spring.

What it means to you: For Beetle lovers, the new TDI engine means you can enjoy the car's charming lines and achieve impressive fuel economy.

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