So while the new Beetle is in fact new, it is still very much a Beetle. While the trademark round fenders are present and accounted for, the bubble roof that became a calling card of the New Beetle has been flattened out into a roofline more reminiscent of the original Beetle. The result is a new C-pillar that's more faithful to the original, and a more vertical rear hatch. Much like the distantly related Porsche Panamera, not to mention the original Beetle, this means more usable headroom for rear seat passengers, something the New Beetle was lacking.
There are other substantial aesthetic changes. The new nose is longer and flatter, again like the original, and drops down onto a lower fascia that incorporates just enough of the new Volkswagen corporate grille to be recognizable. The headlights are, for the first time, bi-xenon HIDs with crescents of LED running lights framing their outboard edges. New running boards hint at the original Beetle, while a wider rear hatch rectifies another New Beetle shortcoming. An integrated spoiler is standard with the top-shelf engine.
If the 2012 VW Beetle looks wider and lower, that's because it is. To make the car look more masculine and muscular, Volkswagen widened the new Beetle by 3.3 inches and lowered the overall height by half an inch. In another bonus for the rear seat passengers, the car has also been stretched 6 inches longer overall and the wheelbase is longer, though Volkswagen hasn't said by how much. Optional 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust, and a performance and handling package will further its sporty aspirations.