• iBeetle revealed at Shanghai Auto Show
  • Modified VW Beetle includes iPhone dock
  • Also includes app with unique features

Volkswagen is teaming up with Apple for a new version of its iconic Beetle. The Volkswagen iBeetle was recently revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show. In addition to a specialized iPhone dock, it features a unique app that lets users access various in-car functions.

For many iPhone users, the most exciting feature of the iBeetle is its built-in docking station. Located on top of the dashboard, the dock allows drivers or passengers to simply snap in their iPhones. Once they do, it's completely integrated with the Beetle. That means it can be used for navigation, calling and music. It can be also used to access the new VW Beetle app.

According to Volkswagen, the Beetle app provides several different functions useful to drivers. Using Spotify through the app, for example, drivers can stream media and listen to playlists. Drivers can also share music with friends.

But the app goes beyond entertainment. In "Expert" mode, it also offers what VW calls an extended instrument panel. The mode provides drivers with a "G meter" to measure G-forces in turns, oil and coolant temperature gauges, a stopwatch and -- perhaps most importantly -- a compass.

App users can also access the "Trainer" function to measure driving times, distances and fuel economy. Drivers can even use this function to compare gas mileage with other Beetle owners. Undoubtedly, "Trainer" will also help those looking to maximize gas mileage and minimize route times.

Another useful app function is "Reader," which reads text messages and Facebook posts aloud. That means drivers won't have to take their hands off the wheel to stay in touch. The "Postcard" function sends the Beetle's current location to other drivers. And "Photo" takes an in-car photo and posts it to social media.

Volkswagen says the iBeetle is one of the first cars in the world to have a genuine interface for the popular iPhone. We're eager to try it out -- and Volkswagen says we'll have the chance when the iBeetle reach dealers early next year. When they do arrive, they'll feature unique "Disc" alloy wheels and iPhone-inspired color choices that include white, black, gray and silver.

What it means to you: The iBeetle brings together the iconic Volkswagen Beetle and Apple's wildly popular iPhone.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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