Volkswagen is still trying to make the Beetle happen. Again. Launched in 2012, the current iteration of the iconic VW hasn’t caught on with buyers nearly as much as the company would’ve hoped. Some of that may have to do with the fact there are numerous “new” Beetles in the used listings for far less money than a new one, and these pre-owned models still capture the same spirit as this most recent version.
Two new special edition models were introduced at the 2015 LA Auto Show, attempting to juice interest in the Beetle. But are they enough to keep you from venturing into the used car listings if you’re in the market?
First up is the Beetle Denim, a nod to the 1970s Beetle Jeans model, according to Volkswagen. The 2,000 Beetle Denim convertibles that will arrive at dealerships beginning in early 2016 will be available in white or “Stonewashed Blue,” featuring a denim-like fabric top and stitching all over the blue fabric seats to make them look like pants pockets. It’ll be like you’re wearing your car.
You might want to wear something that can get muddy in the Beetle Dune. The other new iteration of the Beetle also takes root in a historic old model, but this time it’s the beloved Baja Bug.
Available as both a hardtop and a convertible, the Beetle Dune is just 0.4 inches higher off the ground than the standard car, so it isn’t going to go many unusual places. However, it offers a convincing look, with big 18-inch wheels, faux skid plates and generally rugged demeanor. As a result, the Beetle Dune does a successful job of transforming the Beetle from being such a cuddly thing into this animal you want to run through the dirt with. It’s also very different from any special edition new Beetle that’s come before, which makes it look that much more special.
The rest of the Beetle hasn’t really been updated much, however, although VW’s modern infotainment system with a USB port has been added. Both of these versions are powered solely by the 1.8-liter turbo-four that was introduced a couple of years ago, putting out 170 horsepower.
While the Beetle Denim pays tribute to a special edition from the ‘70s, we’re not convinced that it adds a good reason to get a new Beetle over a lightly used one for far less money.
On the other hand, the Beetle Dune is a different proposition. Its special personality makes it worth getting excited over if it’s your kind of thing, and provided it’s not priced too high. And it’s more likely to be the special edition Beetle people remember several years from now.