Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Neutral Blog & Car Reviews

A collection of stories, reviews and rants

Review - VW Beetle Special Edition - Page 2

fender4The boot is of a decent size (310L) accessible via the hatch or the 60/40 split fold rear seat. The headlights have LED daytime running lights from start which look great however there is no "Auto" headlight setting.

The signature piece is the sound system. Yes, it goes loud.Yes, it has plenty of punch. But there's more to it; it's clean, crisp, clear, it has tightness in the bass, the sound has definition rather than being a jumbled mess with the highs distinguishable from the midrange. When pushed there was no noticeable distortion, just a feeling of having your insides jellified from the subterranean low notes whilst listening to crystal perfect music, accessible via six stacker CD, SD card, auxiliary and, oddly, USB hidden inside the glovebox rather than next to the Aux.

What a pity then, that the touchscreen was a jumbled layout and not intuitive; would not display a station's RDS without it being needed (under a submenu) to be ticked every time the engine had been restarted and didn't seem to allow easy access to different stations preset on different pages. Compared to so many other layouts it's a shocker.

Available in any colour as long as it's black, it's less upright, a touch flatter on the roof and features a rear spoiler, set just under the window. The redesign was intended to take it away from the female oriented styling and add some more masculinity to it. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder it seems to have worked.

fender9The Golf origins are seen in the front bumper's lower edges, the front wheel arch is almost bonnet height, with the rear arches longer and flowing into the taillights. Being a two door car, the doors themselves are well proportioned in respect to the overall dimensions. Back to the front, the bi-xenon lights throw out an icy blue-white, almost surgical in its colouring, at night.

I've hinted at the flexibility of the Fender Beetle's drive combination with the supercharger lighting the fire at low revs with the turbo continuing the burn as the revs increase; the roadholding isn't too bad either.

The grippy Continental tyres, 235/45 profile wrapping that almost Bentley style chrome wheel, hung on in both dry and wet weather with minimal slip, a good indication of the active safety systems doing their job.

There was a momentary lack of traction at the rear when flung into a tight corner but on long sweepers with tightening radius corners the Beetle simply goes where it's told. When launched, the front driven tyres scrabble momentarily for grip however there's no noticeable torque steer. It sits flat, but does get a touch jiggly and unsettled on some of the more raw and unfinished roads, otherwise it's compliant and absorbent, neutralising surface issues.

fender6There's plenty of all round vision however the slightly too small rear vision mirror is a downside. Although built on a Golf base, overall handling though isn't quite as razor sharp, with the suspension settings feeling just a little less refined, perhaps due to the lower profile rubber.

Sound system aside, it's still a competent enough vehicle to have. If you're buying it for the fact it's a Beetle, then that's not a bad thing; with that most immensely usable and flexible drivetrain combination, reasonable room, road handling thanks to the donor chassis. Lob in the quality of sound system, plus a better designed screen interface (please) and for the price, it makes a great rolling hifi.

[This blog \ review was published with aproval by Dave Conole of a wheel thing, you can read more of Dave's reviews at a wheel thing]

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