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new vw beetle (marginal audi content)

No doubt many of the, er, middle aged q-heads on this list grew up with
Beetles; I myself had five, ranging from a '57 to a '72, all purchased
way used, before I was drawn by the siren call of bigger, faster iron. 
I spent some time behind the wheel of a bright red so-called New Beetle
yesterday.  Herewith some impressions:  It's cute as a, uh, bug, but
except for the somewhat evocative body shape and retro touches like the
big round speedo and bud vase (which was even before my time), the New
Beetle is a whole different critter.  Underneath, it's all Golf, of
course.  Once you get over the fact it's not really a Beetle, nor was
intended to be except for the aforementioned touches, you have a very
nice car.  My tester was an early copy, loaned to a colleague by VoA,
but fit and finish were excellent.  The seats are comfy, the shifter
silky, there is some semblance of acceleration, and the ride and
handling are quite smooth, if not all that sporty.  My only criticism is
a somewhat silly one: The dashboard is massively deep and a little
off-putting, stretching nearly to eternity before it reaches the bottom
of the windshield.  (Mandatory marginal Audi content: The sweep of the
rear windows where they meet the hatch are vaguely reminiscent of the A4
and new A6, and very much like the new Passat.  Like the Avants, the
radio antenna is a Fuba, or at least Fuba-like.)  A footnote for those
of us who have long complained that Audi doesn't listen to us: VW did
not want to build the New Beetle, but the response to it on the U.S.
auto show circuit was overwhelming.  VW had to build it.  At $15,600,
the New Beetle ain't a bargain, but it's winner.  VW will sell a slew of

Shaun Mullen
West Grove, PA