VW’s ‘New Beetle’ triggered a wave of retro mania when it launched in 1998. It was basically the first contemporary offering to cash in on the nostalgia factor of yesteryear cars, packaged in a vehicle with modern-day levels of safety, refinement and driving dynamics (thanks to a platform and mechanicals sourced from the VW Golf).
It was a huge sales success in the early years (especially in the US), with dealerships running out of cars to sell — particularly as VW had capped production at just 50,000 units in the first year. But, as is the case with such style-driven products, its appeal waned once the novelty factor wore off in a few years, and sales then just ticked along at a modest rate, until the launch of the second-gen (A5) model in 2012 sparked renewed interest in the Beetle.
However, now it’s curtains for good, with VW rolling out a Beetle Final Edition to mark the swansong of the retro-laced Bug. It will be available in both hatchback and convertible body styles, with the two main distinguishing features being a couple of bespoke colours — ‘Safari Uni’ (basically, beige) and ‘Stonewashed Blue’. These hues have significance, as they were available on the special final editions of the 2003 classic Beetles sold in Mexico at the end of the rear-engined, air-cooled model’s production. However, in case neither of these shades does it for you, there’s also the option of white, black and grey.
Other visual tweaks to the Beetle Final Edition include unique 17in multi-spoke wheels on base models, while the up-spec version gets retro-style 18in rims with white painted accents. The entry model gets bespoke cloth and leatherette seats with diamond pleats, while the SEL has leather trim. There are no changes under the bonnet, with the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo motor and six-speed DSG automatic.