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The Prince of Monaco, Albert II, is deciding to reorganize the car collection his late father so painstakingly assembled and will begin by auctioning off 38 of them with no reserve.
There are a lot of car stereotypes out there, like that Toyota builds dull appliances. While true on many fronts, the Japanese automaker does also make exciting sporty cars like the Scion FR-S, and Lexus LFA, both praised for their exhilarating rides, edgy styling and pulse-raising performance. But there’s another stereotype that needs to be dealt with.
Likely you’ve heard the phrase “German engineering” more than a few times in your life and there’s a popular misconception that it equals good reliability. German cars are well engineered, sometimes to be amazing performance machines and sometimes to be incredibly high-tech (and often both) but, Porsche aside, German cars don’t have the best track record for reliability.
At last year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, Volkswagen displayed a Beetle “Fender Edition” concept car that paid homage to the legendary guitar brand based out of the U.S. A year later, the German automaker has decided to offer the package to interested buyers.
Unfortunately the production model won’t be as cool as the concept, which featured the ability to connect an electric guitar to a subwoofer of the Fender sound system. A subwoofer will still be in the production model, but musicians will have to plug it in via an aux-in port or through Bluetooth by means of a smartphone app. Missing will also be the auxiliary tube amplifier located on top of the dash.
What buyers will get however are 19-inch wheels and a leather-coated roof along with a high-gloss black paint job with red accents. The door mirror covers, handles, side sill accents, VW badge, exhaust tips, and trim strip beneath the side windows will be finished in chrome. The Beetle Fender Edition concept was also lowered 1.2-inch, though we expect the production model won’t be as drastic. On the hood is a guitar pick decal while the original Fender signature can be seen underneath the VW badge on the trunk.
Inside the Fender Edition Beetle, what will remain is its unique ‘Sunburst’ two-tone wood design pattern that’s seen on many Fender guitars. And of course there will be a high-end stereo system to enjoy your beats while driving around town.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition
[Source: Car and Driver]
The Volkswagen Jetta will see a new top-of-the-line trim level called the SEL Plus later this year, though the more exciting news is that Volkswagen plans to replace its 2.5-liter inline-four with a 1.8-liter turbo-four next year.
The new high-end SEL Plus trim will see softer-touch materials in the interior, and like the GLI model, the American counterpart will more closely resemble all the upgrades and refinements seen in the European version, including electric power steering.
The Volkswagen Beetle is an iconic car. From the beaches of California to remote German towns, the Beetle is instantly recognizable by the locals.
While the new Beetle is stylish, the classic original body style of the German mini car is what is known throughout the world.
The video below is a series of 500 different classic Beetles, all found sitting on the streets of various Mexican cities. Thanks to the dry climate, and lack of road salt, countries like Mexico become hot beds for antique cars to go and live out their final days because they don’t rust.
Watch all 500 Beetle’s flash by in the video below.
When the 1973 Volkswagen Beetle first came out, it was powered by a 1.3L air-cooled engine with a mere 44-hp. Considering there are over 70 cars that make 500-hp or more, the stock Beetle powerplant just doesn’t cut it these days.
So imagine what this Beetle feels like packing at least 282-hp with a 2.0L turbocharged, boxer Subaru WRX STi engine in the rear. This swapped Volkswagen Beetle is up for sale on a Romanian website for a ridiculous $79,500 (€59,990). With it though, are Porsche-sourced brakes, wheels, and other accessories.
We imagine it’s probably a ton of fun trying to control this Beetle on the road and is definitely an interesting choice of engine swap donor and donee.
GALLERY: Subaru WRX STi Powered VW Beetle
We love when artists repurpose old cars and turn them into super cool sculptures you’d love to display on your lawn (take that, garden gnomes). We came across this pre-historic relic and just had to share.
Using an old Volkswagen beetle (that looks as though it was unearthed by archeologists), Mutoid Waste Co. created this metal stegosaurus for the Beautiful Days Festival in Devon. Although it’s not Jurassic Park, it would be worth the price of admission to the festival to get a closer look at this rusty dino.
Would you be proud to display this sculpture on your lawn? Let us know in the comments section below.
10. Jeep Compass (tie): 52.7%
Ever wonder just how different men are from women when it comes to picking their vehicle of choice? Here’s a top 10 list of vehicles with the highest proportion of female buyers, provided by Polk via InsideLine. There are a few unexpected models on the list, and a couple of models that, to our surprise, are missing.
Tied for 10th is the Jeep Compass, the only American vehicle on the list. In a way it makes sense, the Compass never gets the respect it deserves, packing a four-cylinder engine and hardly has the rugged off-road ethos that traditional Jeep fans embrace. So in our most sexist tone possible, it makes sense that women embrace the Compass – no really, it’s Jeep’s baby SUV.
There’s no doubt that the redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is sportier and less “bubbly” than the previous model, but is it really attracting more male buyers?
When Volkswagen released its New Beetle in 1998, it was clearly built for the female demographic with its cute, round body and flower vase. Try as it might, the German automaker was unable to shake that image over the last decade until the newer Beetle debuted.
“One of the goals, obviously, was to potentially attract a more-balanced buyer group,” said Tim Mahoney, VW’s U.S. chief product and marketing officer said. “We’re seeing that happen.”
According to sales statistics of the new 2012 VW Beetle that hit dealerships in September of 2011, 43-percent of its buyers in America are men. Compared to the 29-percent from a year earlier with the older model. In December alone, half of Beetle buyers were male compared to the 36-percent a year earlier.
Even still, we’re not convinced the “chick car” stigma is really gone. It’s still easy to imagine the ribbing you might get after pulling up to your buddy’s place in one of these.
The latest generation of the classic Volkswagen Beetle has been well received in its newest form, and will continue to get attention from VW to expand its customer base. Coming next for the new Beetle will be a soft top convertible option, which our photographers recently grabbed some spy photos of.
The Beetle convertible will likely be available with both of the powertrain options offered on standard Beetle, a 2.5L five-cylinder with a six-speed automatic, or a 2.0L TSI turbocharged four-cylinder with a DSG six-speed dual-clutch automatic. The larger 2.5L motor makes 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, while the smaller displacement turbo variant puts out 200-hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.
The Beetle TDI debuted at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, and we are hopeful that the 2.0L diesel engine will find its way into the convertible, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Look for the drop-top Bug to bow at the New York Auto Show in April.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
10. Chevy Impala: 14M units sold
There are some surprises on the list, but for the most part it all makes sense. Whether they’ve been in production for a long time or they’re reasonably priced worldwide, the top 10 best-selling cars of all time might not be the most exciting, but are clearly the most popular throughout history.
The Chevrolet Impala is the only GM vehicle on the list and has quite the history since hitting the market 54 years ago. Starting its life as a large two-door performance coupe, the Impala evolved into a versatile sedan. Or as we like to call it, a rental car. Ironically, it isn’t actually offered as a coupe anymore, which seems like a distant memory after 10 generations of upgrades.
The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI will be going on sale this summer and will make its official debut at the upcoming 2012 Chicago Auto Show. VW has fed us some information ahead of its debut, however, revealing that it’ll be available in three trim levels and is expected to get 29-mpg city and 39-mpg highway.
The Beetle TDI will be powered by a 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine with 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or Volkswagen’s innovative, dual-clutch DSG six-speed automatic. For the inside, the TDI models feature an extra instrument pod with oil temperature and boost gauges along with a stopwatch.
The three models the Beetle TDI will be available in are TDI, TDI with Sunroof, and TDI with Sunroof, Sound and Navigation. The upgraded models are pretty self-explanatory, with the base model coming with 17-inch wheels standard while the Sunroof model also adds a Premium VIII audio system with a full-color touchscreen display. Lastly, the top-of-the-line model has an RNS 315 navigation system with a five-inch touchscreen display and Fender Premium audio system.
Pricing has not yet been announced.
GALLERY: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
Rumors are brewing that Volkswagen will be heading to this year’s Detroit Auto Show with a surprise debut in the form of an all-electric concept. It is believed that the concept will be based on the current generation Beetle, but has been modified similarly to Volkswagen’s Ragster Concept that debuted back in 2005.
The 2005 VW Ragster Concept (pictured above) sported a heavily modified exterior with a lowered roof and wider body. The Beetle-based Electric Concept that should be debuting at the Detroit Auto Show will be similar in style while sporting an electric motor.
In addition, VW is planning to debut a hybrid version of the Jetta.
Check back on January 9th, when the Detroit Auto Show begins and AutoGuide will have live coverage from the event.
GALLERY: 2005 Volkswagen Ragster Concept