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Extended review: Volkswagen's Beetle R-Line

2018-01-25 06:01

Sean Parker

Sean Parker spent his December break with a special companion - the Volkswagen Beetle R-Line, one of only 50 models in the country. 

Cape Town - Did you know that the Volkswagen Beetle was manufactured at the Uitenhage factory in the Eastern Cape for just under 20 years? 

A model that became popular in Mzansi was the 1600S, in the 70s a sportier SP 1600 derivative was launched and was littered with 'performance' overtones; front spoiler, wider tyres, and a more powerful engine. 

Inside the SP 1600 was decked out with with red tartan seats and a smaller steering wheel. 

And that brings me to the latest Beetle I've been running throughout the December holiday break. It's one of 50 Beetle models that have been given the R-Line treatment. 

It has black gloss treatment on the door sills, rear bumper and front lower airdam. Step inside and the 'R' treatment extends to the fabric seats and steering wheel. 

Also standard are xenon headlights and LED daytime driving lights. 

Powering the R-Line model is VW's tried and tested 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 110kW/250Nm. A six-speed dual-clutch gearbox does the business with the smoothness of James Earl Jones' voice. 

The Beetle's persona is laid back and chilled and that's how to really enjoy this car. Drive it sedately, cruise around the mountainside and you''ll reap the rewards of its supple suspension and frugal consumption. I averaged around 7.0-l/100km over a three week period, which I thought was pretty impressive. In fact, I managed to achieve more than 800km from a single tank. 

The 1400cc engine has enough oomph for overtaking and cruising. One of the few trips was down to the West Coast to Langebaan, I popped the cruise control on and settled into a nice rhythm. On that particular trip I had two friends along with me and admittedly, that was about all the car could handle in terms of space. Rear legroom is super tight. 

                                                                                Image: Supplied 

Niceties such as AppleCarPlay (courtesy of the composition media pack with app connect) , a sunroof, ambient lighting , stainless steel pedals, 18" wheels with a cool black and dual climate control that came in handy during the hot summer. 

Reflecting on my time with the Beetle, it suited my lifestyle of just having my girlfriend in the passenger seat and a boot to chuck bags, beach towels and shopping. 

At R419 900, it may seem steep for a car that can't fit four adults (comfortably) but the Beetle offers a sense of freedom and fun that others just don't. 


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