Making its debut in the Windy City, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI Clean Diesel is set to join its gasoline-powered brethren in U.S. showrooms this summer. The first Beetle TDI Clean Diesel to grace the lineup since 2006 will be available in three different trim levels and offer buyers the choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or optional dual-clutch six-speed DSG automatic with Tiptronic manual-style functionality.

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Visual changes to the new VW Beetle TDI are modest and consist of unique 17-inch alloy wheels and a chrome accent strip that sits atop the sheetmetal on the door along with a "TDI" decklid badge. It's what's underhood that sets this high-spirited oil-burner apart from the Beetle 2.5 and Beetle Turbo models. Like its Golf and Jetta TDI cousins, the new Beetle TDI packs Volkswagen's super-clean 2.0-liter turbodiesel four that makes a respectable 140 horsepower while churning out a heady 236 lb-ft of peak torque -- 29 more twist units than the Beetle Turbo. The engine is projected to earn impressive 29 mpg/39 mpg ratings on the EPA city/highway cycles.

All three variations of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI Clean Diesel come with a long list of standards, including a full range of power assists, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry with pushbutton starting,  an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD RCD310 audio system, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and a Media Device Interface with an iPod cable.

Stepping up from base Beetle TDI to Beetle TDI with Sunroof adds a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof made of insulating glass that blocks 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy as well a Premium VIII audio system with a full-color touch-screen display, six-disc CD changer, and an SD card reader. Topping the range is the Beetle TDI with Sunroof, Sound and Navigation. This all-in trim spec adds VW's RNS 315 navigation system with a five-inch touch-screen display and swaps the standard sound system for the firm's trick Fender Premium audio package that offers 400-watts of power plus an additional subwoofer and proprietary Panasonic speaker technology that provides directional sound throughout the entire passenger compartment.

 

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