To add more flair to its vehicle line-up, Volkswagen PH threw in a special edition Beetle, known among enthusiasts as the “Bug”. According to Franz Decleodt, marketing man of VW PH, the Volkswagen Club Edition is more promising and its more than a decorative tribute to the original VW Beetle. Timmy de Leon, the ‘Dragon Lady” of VW PH handed me the keys to a 2017 Club Edition bug for me to see if this beefed-up variant would catch fire like the original variant.
At the onset, this unit looks more masculine with a longer flattened hood and roof line. Engineers also removed the cartoonish curves of the previous generation and the windshield is mounted further back giving the driver a more panoramic frontal view of the road ahead. The high beltline reminds us of the hot-rod generation complimented by a “chopped roof” style giving this Beetle a lower and a much wider stance. This 2017 version is 84mm wider, 12mm lower and 152mm longer than its predecessor. It also comes equipped with special hyper black wheels.
Step inside the cabin and you’ll see the standard leather covered seats, the colored cued dashboard and a not so friendly multimedia system. This writer had a hard time pairing up my iPhone with the car’s multimedia system which is locally sourced. The dashboard layout is bolder and evokes a classier design. It is still your typical VW, but touches like the oval dash ends and upward-opening glove compartment lid pays tribute to the original Bug. It’s all well made with tactile surfaces and switchgear. The center console could be better trimmed, while the central display is a bit small. But otherwise, it’s decent quality.
This Club Edition Beetle also features leather sports seats with manual adjustment and lumbar support. They’re well bolstered, but the leather can be slippery when cornering. You sit higher in the Beetle than in the Golf on which it’s based, and when combined with the narrow screen, this makes the front a bit claustrophobic for taller individuals. The rear is actually worse than the front, but for the average sized Filipino, this cabin space is just right. The flat-bottomed steering wheel looks great with its leather trim, and the multifunction buttons will be familiar to Golf and Polo owners. Still, we have no complaints about the steering feel. It’s sharp, direct and well weighted, and tightens up nicely in corners. Body control is better than average, but the Beetle is tuned for a supple ride on the standard 18-inch wheels, so there’s too much dive and squat to threaten the likes of the Honda Civic RS for agility. The positive is that the car isn’t unsettled by mid-corner bumps, and is easily placed on the road.
Powered by a 1400 TSi 4 cylinder, 160bhp direct injection engine with twin chargers, straight line sprints are fun and the engine is refined when you’re on the expressway. It revs strong and hard and is at its best around 4,000rpm, with 240Nm on tap from 4,500rpm. A 0-62mph sprint time of 8.3 seconds reflects the brisk but not neck-snapping acceleration, with the throttle response, clutch and automatic transmission box’s gearing well matched to the steering. The brakes are solid which is typical of German cars.
Conservatively priced at P1.790M, the Beetle Club Edition and priced higher than the gorgeous Golf GTS wagon at P1.4M which offers more space and is more fuel efficient than this “iconic” Bug. So the question now is, will you be willing to shell out more money and trade “pogi” points over practicality?
One thing is certain though, this Beetle has all the bells and whistles, a leather steering wheel and a special “Club Edition” trim package including the wheels – all extra on the Golf. It’s also a more stylish choice than the Golf GTS and it adds 100 percent “pogi” points – and that makes this special edition Bug a serious bidder for your wallet.