Unlike many American automakers who are shying away from diesel cars, Volkswagen has embraced them, even earning a nomination (though not a trophy) for its Passat TDI. The 2013 VW Beetle has bolder looks and more masculine styling that appeals to people like, well, me. And I never thought I’d say that about a Bug.
What is even more appealing though is VW’s promise of 39 mpg highway (29 city) from a 2.0 liter TDI engine. That is about par for course for other non-diesel compact cars, but what sets the 2013 Beetle TDI apart is torque. 236 ft-lbs of torque, in fact, and 140 horsepower available through either a dual-clutch automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. Music to my freakin’ ears.
The 29/39 rating is also about a 25% increase over the petrol-powered versions of the Beetle, which average around 22/30 mpg. And with all that torque on tap, the 2013 Beetle TDI is just begging for a biodiesel conversion into a badass Bug race car. Price will be important, of course, and with the current Beetle starting at $18,995, it could be difficult to keep a TDI Beetle in the “cheap” price range.
If VW can knock the Beetle TDI out of the park, it may convince other automakers that there is indeed a market for performance diesel coupes here in America. Outside of just your humble writer, of course. Tune in next week when two of our intrepid writers, Jo Borras and Charis Michelsen, take on the Chicago Auto Show in person. And if Charis can pull Jo away from the NSX hybrid long enough, he may even have time to cover the TDI Beetle!