For 2014 all Beetle Turbo’s become “R-Line” which brings a more aggressive front fascia with chrome accents, a new rear bumper that better highlights the dual exhaust tips, and unique badges on the front fenders.
Our Beetle R-Line with Sunroof and Sound had 18” wheels with 235/45 tires. Standard halogen headlamps are found up front, but if you go with the top grade Beetle R-Line you will get Xenon headlights, LED driving lights and larger 19” wheels.
The look is more sporting and masculine than the previous generation Beetle, with a lower and less cartoonish roof line and a more squared off chin.
Inside the Beetle, the interior as expected offers up excellent fit and finish, attention to detail, and lots of high quality materials. Our tester had tightly bolstered manually adjustable sport seats with a comfortable cloth that I liked quite well. Even with the cloth seats you get bun warmers.
The leather wrapped steering wheel had a sporty squared off bottom and had easy to use controls for audio and the instrument cluster. The six-speed manual shifter is the best feeling of any Volkswagen I’ve driven yet, but remains long in throw.
The Fender audio system is well worth the step up in price, offering 400 watts that blasts through 8 speakers and a sub-woofer. The sound quality is phenomenal giving you a boom you can feel from the subwoofer, even though it does take up a bit of space in the trunk.
And the handling on this Beetle cannot be compared to a fishing boat in the least. Based on the same chassis as the current Golf, the Beetle R-Line has a much tighter suspension and steering than the last generation.
A multi-link rear suspension and struts up front give a well connected feel that rarely disappoints. The R-Line has larger 12.3” front disc brakes which are noticeably stronger than the base binders. The electronic power steering is still a bit vague, though weighted well for aggressive driving.
On the windy road up here I found that only when you approach rougher surfaces does the Beetle’s feathers become ruffled. Under power on curves the steering gets a little light and flittery at times, offering a bit of unwanted kickback.
The 2.0 liter direct-injected turbocharged engine performs well, offering up a healthy 210 horsepower for 2014. In the hills here it gives a nice push in the back that was a good friend with the six-speed manual transmission.
In the end however the drive-by-wire throttle is all about fuel economy, and the Beetle R-Line doesn’t disappoint. It’s rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. In our time with the Beetle we saw as high as 38 mpg on the freeway, with an average combined observed 28 mpg. Not bad at all.
The Beetle is still a nostalgic car which by its nature is meant to appeal to a wider band of customers than say a Golf GTI. Therefore it’s a little softer around the edges and doesn’t offer highly focused performance features you might expect in one. The Beetle is a more well rounded package if I may play a pun.
For a full review and photo galleries, see our review on GasMiler.com