Tune into Oprah Winfrey’s show this afternoon? If so, you were likely presented with a shadowy image of the next-generation 2012 Volkswagen New Beetle. You also likely witnessed a considerable fervor, as Winfrey announced each of the 275 men and women in her audience would receive a new New Beetle when it hits the market in the fall of 2011.
No, the official line sketch from VW doesn’t tell you half of what the spy shots or renderings show, though it’s no less than what The Oprah Winfrey Show’s audience got to see. Oprah says she drives a New Beetle, and as such, is giving the car as part of her annual “Oprah’s Favorite Things” show. VW will give away 275 examples to Monday’s audience, and cover applicable taxes and fees.
The rendering shown here, along with the shadowy silhouette shown on TV, is unmistakably Beetle-like, but it does break from the profile of the current spy shots. VW confirms what spy shots have predicted; that the next New Beetle will resemble the Ragster concept, losing some of the curve in its greenhouse. That curve served as a distinct, easily recognized look for the New Beetle, though it meant ample front-seat headroom at the expense of rear-seat headroom.
Apart from touting the Oprah giveaway, VW has revealed precious little about the 2012 New Beetle — heck, even the audience won’t lay their hands on the car until later next year. Volkswagen did reveal the car will be offered with the company’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, along with the company’s 2.0-liter turbo-diesel TDI four-cylinder. We don’t know if there will once again be a value-priced model, blessed with either the company’s 2.5-liter I-5 or the iron-block 2.0-liter I-4 that recently reappeared in lower trim levels of the 2011 Jetta.
VW will launch a cabrio after the Beetle coupe’s fall ’11 on-sale date, probably no earlier than spring of ’12. VW plans to vastly expand its list of accessories and custom options, jumping on the Mini/Fiat 500 bandwagon. Volkswagen will have a full reveal of the design next spring, but the company hasn’t decided which auto show will host the Bug’s reintroduction.