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Redesigned masculine VW Beetle unveiled ahead of NY Auto Show

2012 VW Beetle

2012 VW Beetle

TrueCar, an automotive research organization, conducted a survey last summer to determine the top cars registered to women. Guess which car topped that list? The Volkswagen Beetle, with 56.1% of registered owners being female.

It looks like the German automaker wants to balance that ratio a bit, with a more aggressive and masculine styled version of Volkswagen's historied compact.

The redesigned Beetle looks sportier with a wider and longer body, making it more coupe-like, and in effect minimizing the egg design the car is known for. From the profile, it actually hearkens back the Beetle rally cars of the '60s and '70s.

Some of the Beetle's old-school styling remain, like its round headlights, flared wings, the round shape of the hood, door panels and oversized wheels.

The Beetle will also come in 12 new colors, including "toffee metallic," which is similar to a coffee brown.

The interior gets a much needed modern upgrade that falls in line with the rest of the VW current lineup. The “cathedral ceiling” dome roof of the new Beetle has been replaced with a sleek and sporty roofline. The longer body means more room in the rear seating area and more trunk space.

The 2012 Beetle will be available in three models with different engines: the 2.5L gasoline five cylinder, a 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel and the 2.0L TSI turbocharged gasoline engine.

The biggest news here is the TDI engine, which makes its Beetle debut in the United States. The engine puts out 138 horsepower. EPA certification is still pending but VW says the diesel engine gets 40 mpg on the highway, 29 mpg in the city, and 33 mpg combined.

Transmission choices will include a 5-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic on 2.5L models. Volkswagen’s 6-speed dual-clutch transmission will be offered on the TDI Clean Diesel and 2.0L TSI turbocharged gasoline models, while a 6-speed manual will come standard.

VW says the North America target launch of the Beetle is sometime in the fall of 2011. No word yet on pricing, but look for it to be in the low $20,000 range.

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