Dead: Volkswagen Beetle

Dead: Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen, a company that has essentially stripped its most iconic model, the VW Beetle, of most of its identity over the last couple of decades, is throwing in the towel with a new Final Edition for the 2019 model year.

The original Beetle was a plucky, light, manual, air-cooled rear-engined, rear-drive car packed with an immeasurable amount of charm. Then The New Beetle came along at the turn of the century as an uninspiring front-wheel drive compromised VW Golf variant, basically, and it’s just been a slow degradation into something even more mundane with the current-day car.

And now it’s on it’s way out, as made official by VW today with the announcement of the Final Edition trim for the 2019 model.

The Final Edition Beetles will be available in coupe and convertible, and are inspired by the final run of the original Mexico-produced Beetle in 2003. The new trim includes special Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue paint options, chrome accents, a “Beetle” badge replacing the usual “Turbo” badge, and 15-spoke chrome 43cm wheels.

There’s also colour-matched interior trim pieces to the Safari Uni paint colour, including the “Beetle bin” glove box, dashboard and seats, and a few other unique “Beetle badging” like on the steering wheel.

Beyond the cosmetics, the 2019 VW Beetle Final Edition SE and SEL models get the same standard equipment and options as the rest of the Beetle lineup. The SE starts at $US23,045 ($32,098), $US27,295 ($38,017) for the convertible, and the SEL at $US25,995 ($36,206), or $US29,995 ($41,778) for the convertible, plus and additional $US895 ($1,247) destination charge for all of the above.

Even though I have no strong emotions about the loss of the current Beetle, nor the one that came before it, I’m still upset that there are no current plans to bring it back, because I don’t think it’s that difficult to bring back some of the charming simplicity of the original.

There are rumours that it could return as a sort of emotional flagship car for VW’s upcoming lineup of electric vehicles, which would easily allow it to be rear-drive again thanks to the adaptable layout of the automaker’s new EV architecture.

But those decisions, VW representatives have admitted, are still a ways off, so we can only hope they pull it together and do it right when the time comes.