2012 Volkswagen Beetle

When the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle arrives in dealerships in September, it will be sporting a more aggressive look, revised engines and some new features – all for a starting price of just $18,995.

Coming in with a premium of just $305 over the 2010 model it replaces, the base-level 2012 Beetle features the same 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine found in its predecessor – but with power boosted from 150 hp to a more punchy 170. Despite the extra oomph, Volkswagen says the 2012 Beetle actually gets 10 percent better gas mileage than the outgoing model, achieving an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the standard five-speed manual transmission, or 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the optional six-speed automatic.

The sportier 2.0 TSI starts a bit higher, at $23,395. But for driving enthusiasts the premium will likely be worth it to get the 2.0 TSI's powerful 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine – the same one used in Volkswagen's spry GTI. Like the GTI, the Beetle 2.0L TSI offers drivers a choice between a standard six-speed manual transmission and Volkswagen's lightning-quick, DSG dual-clutch automatic.

The Beetle range will also be expanded to include a diesel model sometime in 2012. While pricing has yet to be announced, Volkswagen says the 140-horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder will make it the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever, capable of getting around 40 mpg on the highway.

"The 21st Century Beetle is an automotive icon reinvented, a nod to the heritage and character of Volkswagen and our remarkable history," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America's president and chief executive.

But despite the model's retro character, it will also include some state-of-the-art features. Volkswagen says gadgets available for the new Beetle will include a Fender Audio System, keyless access with a push-button starter, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, and trendy LED daytime running lights. It also comes standard with Volkswagen's 3-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance Program, which covers scheduled maintenance at no charge.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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