2013 VW Beetle 2.0 TSI DSG review

  • Range-topping Beetle driven on UK roads
  • 197bhp; 37.2 MPG; 176g/km of CO2
  • On sale now, priced from £23,905
Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review
Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review
With no GTI or R models planned, the Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 TSI represents the top of the Beetle range.

It gets a 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that’s good for 139mph and a 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds. What’s more, it’s reasonably efficient, considering the power, with an average economy of 37.2mpg.

Going for the 2.0 TSI engine restricts you to the highest of the three trims – Sport. This brings a three-spoke sports steering wheel, sports seats, bigger alloy wheels and parking sensors.

Bluetooth, a DAB radio and steering wheel-mounted stereo controls are also included, while the six-speed DSG gearbox fitted to our test car is the same twin-clutch unit used in countless VWs.

What’s the 2013 VW Beetle 2.0 TSI DSG like to drive?
This model might sit at the top of the range, but it sits there rather awkwardly; don’t expect GTI-levels of driver engagement, even though this engine was once the Golf GTI’s.

There’s nothing wrong with the engine itself; acceleration is strong, and you’re treated to a deep, bassy bellow from the twin exhausts.

Unfortunately, the steering feels overly heavy and quite sluggish.

This Beetle does get a more advanced rear suspension set-up than lesser models in the range, which helps it resist body roll well and deal better with mid-corner lumps and bumps. However, the ride feels firm and unsettled at lower speeds.

Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review

Our car came with the optional (£170) gearshift paddles, and these are well worth adding because the only other way to override the DSG ’box is with the counter-intuitive gearlever, which forces you to pull back to change down and push forward to change up.

When it’s left in auto mode, the gearbox often feels too eager to change down. We’d recommend you save yourself £1510 and stick with the manual.

Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review

What’s the 2013 VW Beetle 2.0 TSI DSG like inside?
The cabin is the usual combination of Volkswagen quality and class, albeit with a retro twist; the dashboard can be painted to match the car’s exterior colour.

The controls are a doddle to use, too, but you might struggle to find your ideal driving position because the steering wheel doesn’t offer a great range of movement.

The small rear-view mirror and thick rear pillars mean there are visibility problems, too.

Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review

Access to the rear seats is good, thanks to the car’s large doors and front seats that tilt and slide out of the way. However, limited head- and legroom in the back means that adult passengers will probably feel a little cramped.??

The 310-litre boot is just 50 litres smaller than the Golf's, but a deep lip and a sloping boot lid limit practicality, while the height of the open tailgate means some shorter drivers could struggle to close it.

Should I buy one?
It’s hard to recommend this version of the Beetle. You climb in thinking it looks like a Beetle GTI, you pull away thinking it sounds like one, but then the first corner confirms exactly why it isn’t one.

If you’re after retro looks combined with hot hatch pace, you’re better off going for the Mini Cooper S. It’s doesn’t offer as much interior space as the Beetle, but it's more than £3000 cheaper, quicker and far more accomplished to drive.

The Beetle will primarily be bought by people for its looks, because while this style icon is largely a Golf underneath, it’s neither as good to drive nor as practical.

With this in mind, we’d go for the 1.2 TSI model if you’ve got your heart set on a Beetle. It’s a surprisingly flexible performer and is more than £8000 cheaper in entry-level trim.

Even if you add a DSG gearbox and upgrade to Design trim, it’s more than £4000 cheaper, plus it’ll save you money in fuel, tax and insurance, while offering all the style and build quality of the 2.0 TSI.

What Car? says...

Mini Cooper S
Volkswagen Golf

Read the full Volkswagen Beetle review>>

Engine size 2.0 turbo petrol
Price from £23,905
Power 197bhp
Torque 206lb ft
0-60mph 7.5 seconds
Top speed 139mph
Fuel economy 37.2mpg
CO2 176g/km

By Rory White

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