2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Review
The sporty little Beetle that almost looks like a classic.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Features: Sport seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, Fender premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, steering-wheel plaque displaying limited-edition production number.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle, click here: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle.