The Volkswagen New Beetle is a compact car, introduced by Volkswagen in 1997, drawing heavy inspiration from the exterior design of the original Beetle. Unlike the original Beetle, the New Beetle has its engine in the front, driving the front wheels, with luggage storage in the rear. Many special editions have been released, such as the Malibu Barbie New Beetle.
At the 1994 North American International Auto Show, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Volkswagen Beetle. Designed by J Mays and Freeman Thomas at the company's California design studio, the concept car was based on the platform of the Volkswagen Polo. A red cabriolet concept was featured at the Geneva Motor Show, also in 1994.
Production design approval was reached in mid-1995, with a design freeze resulting 22 months of development time for production. In October 1995, the Volkswagen Concept Two was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show, essentially an early preview of the production model due in early 1998.
Engine choices include the 115 hp (86 kW) 2.0 L inline-four for the base model, the 100 hp (75 kW) 1.9 L TDI turbodiesel inline-four (discontinued after the 2006 model year due to more stringent emissions requirements), and the 150 hp (112 kW) 1.8 L turbo inline-four for the Turbo and Sport models .
The Turbo S model (sold 2002–2004) included the 1.8 L turbo but with 180 hp (134 kW). It also included a sport suspension, six-speed manual transmission, aluminum interior trim, revised front/rear fascias and bigger wheels and tires. A close relative of the Turbo S was the 2002–2004 Color Concept. This limited edition variant was available in limited exterior colors, with interior door panel inserts, seat inserts, floor mat piping and wheel opening inserts color-matched to the exterior paint. Wheel color inserts, diameter, and style varied with model year. It came standard with the 150 hp (112 kW) 1.8 turbo gasoline engine, 5 speed manual gear box, speed-activated rear spoiler, power windows/sunroof/door locks, heated leather seats, and fog lamps.
All 1.8L Turbo and Turbo S inline-four models were equipped with a retractable rear spoiler which was not available on the 1.9 L TDI inline-4, 2.0 L inline-four and 2.5 L inline-five models.
For the 2006 model, the exterior was slightly redesigned with more angular bumpers and wheel wells, and these models were fitted with the 2.5 L 5-cylinder engine with 150 hp (112 kW) which was also fitted on the Rabbit and Jetta, later becoming the sole engine option. The New Beetle would not be given the upgraded 2.5 L engine (engine code CBTA/CBUA) that 2008 and later Jettas and Rabbits received.