You’ve probably heard the news Volkswagen is pulling the pin on the Beetle.
The first Beetle was produced for an amazing 65 years, from 1938 right through to 2003 in Mexico.
Launched in 1997, its replacement, the New Beetle, wasn’t quite as long-lived.
In Australia the original Beetle was sold between 1953 and 1976 (I had a ’76 with plates BUG-076).
The New Beetle made it to Oz in 2000, launched at a glittering event that was held in Sydney’s Darling Harbour (we were there for that one).
It was updated in 2013, superseded by a wider, lower, more dynamic model — but failed to generate the kind of sales Volkswagen was looking for and was actually withdrawn from sale at the end of 2016.
Sadly, the retro trend appears to be over.
In the United States Volkswagen of America has continued to sell the car, but it’s just announced it will end production of the Beetle next year, putting an end to the iconic car.
To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, however, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year— Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.
“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Hinrich J Woebcken, said.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it.
“But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ — which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus — I would also say, ‘Never say never.’
“We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.”
Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models include exclusive equipment and unique upscale trim elements designed to send the Beetle off in style.
Models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run in Mexico, where the vehicle is assembled.
The 2003 Última Edición (last edition) models were only available in two colours—beige and light blue.
Today’s Final Edition models will feature two unique colours: Safari Uni—a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige, a colour from the New Beetle—and Stonewashed Blue, a nod to the 1970 Jeans Bug and most recently seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim.
All 2019 Beetle models, both convertible and coupe, will be powered a 130kW 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
But the usual “Turbo” badge on the tailgate is replaced by a “Beetle” badge.
Final Edition coupe models feature standard chrome treatments like the Última Edición models, in addition to body-colour side mirrors, heated washer nozzles (all standard features across the Beetle Convertible lineup), as well as a sunroof.
Unique wheels complete the exterior transformation of Beetle Final Edition models.
Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design.
SEL models are shod with 18-inch white aluminum-alloy wheels in a disc design that is reminiscent of the Última Edición’s body-colored steel wheels fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tires.
Inside, they are all equipped with standard keyless access and push-button start, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with unique “Beetle” clip, stainless steel pedal caps, climate control airconditioning, gloss black centre console, a unique Safari Uni color dash with the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin” that harkens to the colour-matched interior treatments in the Última Edición, and three-colour ambient lighting.
SE models feature cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats, while SEL models offer standard diamond-stitched leather seating surfaces.
Technology-wise they feature a Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB port, SiriusXM radio (three-month trial subscription), Voice Control, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect smartphone integration.
SEL models upgrade to Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, as well as Fender Premium Audio.
All Final Edition models offer driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control.