Beetle: Now With Added Poke

BY Burnpavement

VW Singapore bolsters the Beetle range with a more powerful 1.4 TSI twincharged engine that packs 160 bhp.

While 1.2 litres of displacement may be a great figure for a passenger car (cheap road tax!), and 105 bhp and 170 Nm sufficient power and torque figures for our (mostly) city traffic, they do seem quite low for a model that's being marketed as a sporty lifestyle car.

Enter the 160 bhp Beetle 1.4 TSI, perfect for drivers scared of having their Beetles squashed by today's monster SUVs. Coupled to the same 7-speed DSG gearbox as found in the 1.2, the punchier engine bumps top speed up to 207 km/h and cuts the 0-100 sprint to 8.3 s, more than 2.5 seconds faster than before.

To help cope with the increased power and torque going through the front wheels, the Beetle 1.4 comes equipped with the XDS electronic locking differential that premiered on the Mk 6 Golf GTI, while larger, 17-inch rims and a rear spoiler beef up the car's looks.

Inside, the large swathe of body-coloured trim remains on the dashboard, steering wheel and doors. The interior also sees the addition of paddleshifts for the multi-function steering wheel, an integrated infotainment and navigation touchscreen, keyless entry and start-up, dual-zone climate control, Park Distance Control with front and rear proximity sensors, and finally a trio of dash gauges for turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and lap times (a VW Sport Chrono Package, if you will).

The larger-engined Beetle should not be much more expensive to run than its 1.2-litre sibling with a combined fuel consumption figure of just 6.2 km/l, and it qualifies for a CEVS rebate of $5,000. The car goes on sale with a launch price of $150,300 with COE.

There's no word yet on whether VW Singapore will bring in the hot 200 bhp 2.0-litre, or fuel-sipping TDI models, so for now, this is the fastest Bug you can buy.