Our driving experience with the 2012 Beetle was pleasure with a bit of puzzlement. Pleasure, because it does everything well: The steering is direct and responsive, and the overall behavior...
... is completely stable, predictable and even refined. Puzzlement, because we had hoped for this newest iteration of VW’s Beetle to have the quick reflexes and enjoyable dynamics of one of our all-time favorites, the
Volkswagen GTI. But the Beetle seems tuned for a more comfortable ride and less aggressive handling. Unless you’re a very enthusiastic driver you likely won’t notice the difference. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder base engine is perfectly adequate, but we much prefer the available 2.0-liter turbo, which delivers impressive performance with essentially a non-noticeable penalty in fuel economy. All the control functions feel linear and direct, and the 2012 VW Beetle feels like one solid piece whether you're going down the road or carving up mountain passes.