In a world of Yin and Yang, nothing is really considered to be perfect. The good, bad and ugly (not in this case) come together as a part of one package. What matters is if the positive overpowers the negative. Anyway, enough philosophy – let’s get down to business and talk about the 21st century Volkswagen Beetle. You have this timelessly evolved exterior design, which has a smile that would melt Frankenstein’s heart. And underneath that shell is a precisely engineered German chassis and drivetrain that seems like a marriage made in heaven.
The impressive engine, mated to the slick shifting DSG gearbox, with an ever so supple ride, makes this a very comfortable and cute little car for everyday use. The cabin is laced with soft leather upholstery and perfectly lined stitching, with retro touches such as the body coloured panels on the dashboard, steering wheel and doors. There is a beautiful thin-rimmed steering wheel that gives you an illusion of feel, as opposed to the chunky rimmed wheels we get in most modern cars. Because of its looks, its heritage, and the feature film series Herbie, the Beetle has a particularly inexplicable charm about it.
On the road, with its 1.4-litre TSI engine and the dual-clutch gearbox, it’s a practical machine that is also quite fast. Behind that quaint exterior is the chassis that one would find underneath a VW Golf or an Audi TT. So, on the track, the Beetle does feel completely at home – however with a slight hint of understeer in the corners. That understeer is because the car is now front-engined, unlike the original.
Obviously, it doesn’t drive quite as well as a TT – but something that looks like a fluff ball really shouldn’t behave like Herbie has gone bananas. The fact is that, whichever way you cut it, this is a fun little car. And it’s one that’s been properly engineered – as you would expect with a Volkswagen. The stumbling block, then, is the price. At north of 30 lakhs, it’s serious money for a happy little machine – the Yin in the Yang then. Or something like that!