The roots of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, also referred to as the Volkswagen Bug, can be traced back to 1938, though there is a clear distinction between the 'classic' or ' original' Beetle which first came off the assembly line in 1940-and the 'new' Beetle, which was introduced in America in 1998.
The original Beetle was actually the brain child of Adolf Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche. The duo wanted to produce an economical and reliable car that the working class could afford, however due to the political and social unrest of the time, very few of these unique vehicles were manufactured or sold before Germany's WWII surrender. Despite the horrible timing, the Beetle remained a topic of automotive discussion and interest in, as well as demand for the unique vehicle grew after the war ended. Mass production of the oddly shaped compact car with headlight 'eyes', an air cooled engine and unusual sound began in 1945, with the first Beetle being exported to the United States in 1949. Between the sedan version and the even more popular convertible model, Volkswagen sold 390 Beetles in the United States during 1951. Progress was slow, but intuitive advancements were steady and continued to satisfy an increasing number of motorists' world wide for many years to follow.
With a colorful history and an astonishing success rate that included production of 1.3 million Volkswagen Beetles at the height of their popularity in 1971, consumer demand for the rounded little car slowly began to decrease. The last original Beetle was sold in the United States in 1978; though sales continued in other parts of the world until the very last original Beetle was produced in July of 2003.
Meanwhile, in 1998 a whole new generation of American drivers and industry analysts who now had access to many automotive engineering and technology advancements craved the return of the Bugs unique characteristics blended with modern automotive expertise. The 'new' Beetle sedan was introduced in America for the 1998 model year and a convertible version of the 'new' Bug debuted in 2003. With its front situated water cooled engine and front wheel drive platform, the only true similarities between the original and the new Beetle was the reminiscent style and shape. Many modern amenities helped to make the 'new' Beetle a practical and reliable car for every day use that was greeted enthusiastically by a new generation of drivers.
Both the sedan and the convertible versions of the 2007 Volkswagen Beetle are powered by a 150 horsepower 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine. The front wheels are driven by a standard five speed manual transmission, with a six speed automatic being optional. All models are well equipped and include features such as power windows and door locks, an advanced audio system with MP3 and CD player, air conditioning, keyless entry and heated outside mirrors. Upgrade packages add comfort and convenience features such as satellite radio, heated front seats, a sunroof for the coupe and a power operated top for the convertible. Affordably priced, fuel efficient and a testament to personality and style, the 'new' Volkswagen Beetle has not yet achieved the success rate of the original, but a true comparison cannot be made for many, many years and it is off to a good start.