Volkswagen explores ways to be fuel efficient and fun

Bullz-Eye.com checked out Volkswagen to explore ways the company is trying to be fuel efficient.

Car enthusiasm boils down to the enjoyment of the drive. All you need is a car you enjoy, a twisty road and some exciting scenery. But the scenery aspect always seems to be left out – the natural backdrop that turns an average drive into a memory. A drive through California will remind you just how important nature is to enjoying a car, and how to make cars not adversely affect the world we live in. No, this article will not be an environmental screed if you were wondering, but it will highlight how VW and other car manufacturers are keeping the joys of motoring while taking into account the preservation of the planet.

The GTI and Golf R are pretty good examples of how far automakers have pushed the envelope, balancing performance with green friendliness. Don’t be mistaken, neither of these cars are hybrids. The GTI and Golf R both share turbocharged 4 cylinder engines, but the R dials up the power and is equipped with 4Motion AWD. But it was the GTI that I took the keys to start the day.

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There I Fixed It: VW Beetle’s Gender Problem

Think tanks are a wonderful thing. Where else can you publish pages of biased research, get paid tons of money for it, and then have no accountability if your results are used? Car enthusiasts need their own think tank. Dashboard News is filling this void with lukewarm, soft facts with our new feature: “There I Fixed It.” In this column, we make somewhat logical solutions to an automaker’s problems. No rants about manual, diesel hatchbacks for under $25k here, our rants have data and evidence, sort of. So read on, and make sure to put your own thoughts on the subject, or new problems, in the comments below.

The first automaker to need our help is VW. On a quest to become the world’s largest automaker, VW has both decreased prices and content on some cars (Jetta), and has strengthened their niche offerings (New New Beetle) to attract more sales. However, they want the New Beetle to be bought by both girls and boys this time, instead of mostly girls like last time. AP details some of the efforts VW made to make the Beetle “manly”, such as boost gauges, bolder lines, and a stereo from Fender. But here’s the problem, the Beetle will never be manly.

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New VW Phaeton for 2015

If you don’t remember the VW Phaeton, then you are lucky. For those that do, they will remember it as was one of the most boneheaded product decisions known to man. The Phaeton was a joint product between VW and Bentley. Bentley’s version was the wildly successful Continental GT (as seen in any rap video that involves champagne and girls dancing). The Phaeton did not fare so well. Reason being, it offered the cost and complexity of a Bentley, with the image of a VW. So, the nearly 100k car sat on dealersihp lots until it left the U.S. market in 2006. However, it has survived overseas and is set for a return.

Car magazine reports that we almost saw a new Phaeton during the Frankfurt Auto Show a couple weeks ago. However, VW is full steam ahead on creating a brand new Phaeton for 2015. They don’t seem to know why though:

Even after the third facelift, the Phaeton can still only field one truly strong point, and that is the beautifully finished cabin which matches any Bentley even though the layout is about as contemporary as a Biedermeier sideboard, and the electronics tend to lag at least one generation behind the leaders.

It is an open secret that the next Phaeton will be styled from the inside out, matching a top-notch but less olde worlde interior to a much more timely exterior. How do we define timely? This is a question VW will have to answer in the course of next year. Before the summer break, three options were being discussed: another three-box notchback, a rather stylish five-door hatchback, and an elegant and luxurious Super-Variant.

Sounds like they are headed for the same mistake as last time; they should call it the Titanic II instead.

Source: Car Magazine

VW Up! Reviewed by Evo

When the VW Beetle debuted, it was meant as a cheap car for mass consumption. Now, it is merely a large, retro, fashion accessory that makes some murky link to its origins. However, a true Beetle successor does exist, but it is only available in Europe.

It is called the Up!, and it is meant to offer cheap, stylish, dependable transportation for lots of people. Sound familar? It may not have an air-cooled engine in the back, but it does have many cool engineering tricks to keep size and price small. European car amgazine Evo points out a few of them:

So the production Up has the usual front engine, front-wheel drive and torsion beam rear axle, but the engine is a new, all-aluminium, three-cylinder unit of 1.0 litre and either 60 or 95bhp. There will also be a 68bhp CNG version with just 79g/km CO2 when mated to the robotised manual transmission option. The Up is just over 3.5m long, weighs under a tonne (as you would hope) and has very short overhangs. At the front this is achived by mounting the radiator to the left side of the engine instead of in front of it.

As for how it drives:

Not remotely rapid. The 1.0-litre, 75bhp, 108g/km, five-speed manual takes 13.2sec to hit 62mph and runs out of steam at 106mph, and you need to stoke the engine mercilessly to stay with torquey, turbodiesel-powered traffic. But, as with many three-pots, it’s a very likeable engine with a deep, smooth note and a response keener than than the figurtes suggest. Unusually for a triple, it has no balancer shaft. This small engine’s reciprocating masses are too low to need balancing.

This is a light, airy car, beautifully made and detailed, and designed in the kind of industrial way that suits the painted-metal door edges and the lack of any padding. The dashboard is glossy, and body-coloured in most versions, and on it sits, optionally, a Navigon sat-nav/economy meter/control screen which you can take out and use, Tom-Tom-like, for on-foot navigation. It will talk to your phone, too.

The Up! will not be coming stateside, but it is nice to know that there are useful, attractive, and cheap cars out there.

For the full review, check out the article here.

Volkswagen celebrates the 21st century Beetle with Pete Wentz

Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group America greeted media and guests from around the world alongside celebrity music artist and DJ Pete Wentz to unveil the third generation, 21st Century Beetle yesterday. The morning kicked off with a personalized spin session from Wentz featuring songs from longtime friend and business partner Travis McCoy, and of course hip hop selections. Cheering Volkswagen fans sipped mimosas and noshed on mini bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and other morning favorites.

The sleek new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, only the third generation of this beloved iconic car, showcases the company’s style, performance, and the latest advances in German engineering. The 21st Century Beetle debuted on three continents this morning starting in Shanghai, China followed by events in Berlin and Lower Manhattan.

“I’m stoked to be here celebrating the unveiling of the 21st century Beetle,” Wentz remarked, before heading over to the chic red model for a second mini-session. “I love that the new Beetle is so sleek—it’s totally a guy’s car and I could see myself driving this updated version of the classic.” When asked if he had any cherished Volkswagen memories, as so many Americans do, Wentz smirked and divulged, “My favorite Volkswagen memory is getting to second base in the back seat!”

The event featured an introduction from Jonathan Browning and remarks from Luca de Meo, head of Global Marketing, and Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the brand. For more information on the 21st Century Beetle, visit vw.com or media.vw.com.

Photo credited to: Johnny Nunez

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