2014 Beetle GSR

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Review

The sporty little Beetle that almost looks like a classic.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: December 23rd, 2013

The GSR Beetle is a limited edition model designed to evoke fond memories of the carmaker's beloved 1970s-era "Yellow Black Racer" (or Gelb Schwartzer Renner in German, thus GSR). It's a silly thing, as all such nostalgia-mobiles ultimately are. But the GSR delivers a double-dose of revivalism -- it's a revival of a trim line for a car that is itself a revival. In reality, it's just an R-Line Beetle with a different paint job and badge. The "masculinized" design of the new Beetle suits the GSR look, however. It may be silly nostalgia, but it's nicely done.

  • On the Road

    The GSR's turbo 4 has added 10 extra hp from previous models, and that extra jolt definitely helps. It's a peppy, sprightly, and deft hatchback. Steering and suspension are well-tuned, and acceleration is dependably immediate. The six-speed manual transmission is a must-have for this car, and that, too has been well tuned. Add to that the R-Line's 12.3-inch disc brakes and you have enough serious driving capability to easily compete with the Veloster, 500 Abarth, and Civic Sis with which it shares market space.

  • Exterior

    You gotta love the classic Yellow Black Beetle. At least that's what some people might think. We found the styling obnoxious, but if you forego the yellow paint and go with the white or silver options, you can still have your nice bold black stripes. As we said, however, the redesigned Beetle carries the look of the original GSR pretty well. The main objective of the latest new Beetle design was to rid the new Bug of that dreaded "chick car" stigma (removing the bud vase was an obvious step), and this new GSR seems to be a further attempt to remind people of the old old Beetle, as opposed to the old new Beetle.

  • Interior

    The interior has the typical VW austerity to it, but the yellow stitching and garish GSR badge over the glove compartment ruin an otherwise respectable interior. The Fender sound system is capable, although why anyone would think to associate Fender - a brand known for making guitars and guitar amps - with high fidelity remains a mystery. Panasonic actually makes the sound systems, in case you care.

  • Conclusion

    The GSR is a tremendously fun car tailored for an extremely specific buyer. A good ol' R-Line model will do you just as nicely if you don't care about specifically trying to relive the year 1973. And as far as nostalgia trips go, this is one that is definitely all about the journey.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: turbocharged inline-4

    Transmission: 6-speed manual

    Power Output: 210 horsepower, 207 lb.-ft. torque

    Fuel Economy: 21 mpg (City) / 30 mpg (hwy)

    Price: $30,8154(Base)

    Features: Sport seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, Fender premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, steering-wheel plaque displaying limited-edition production number.

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