The Beetle comes standard with one engine and transmission combination. All models utilize a 174-horsepower, 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a standard 6-speed automatic. The Beetle is offered in S, Coast, Dune SE and S "style and comfort" trim levels.
The Beetle shares its underpinnings with the Jetta, which includes front struts and a rear multi-link setup. Steering will feel very familiar to those who have driven previous modern Beetles, though the driving experience has changed significantly, thanks to the revised A-pillar angle and accordingly, the abbreviated dashboard, bringing the driver closer to the action.
A convertible version gets a power-folding fabric top. The top folds in 9.5 seconds and will operate at vehicle speeds up to 30 mph. Convertibles feature the same engine and transmission lineups as the coupe, and the modest weight increase barely hinders performance.
Base S trims come nicely equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and automatic headlights. Inside there's an auto-dimming mirror, cloth seats with front lumbar support, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake, a 50/50 split-fold rear seat, and a five-inch MIB II touchscreen radio with USB. The SE trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, VW Car-Net App-Connect, and a 6.3-inch touchscreen. Finally SEL trims feature 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, navigation, a powered panoramic sunroof, and a blind-spot warning system.
Originally a special model for 2016, the Beetle Dune trim is now a regular part of the lineup. It features the 1.8T engine, special exterior paint and seating surfaces, parking assist, and much of the rest of the SE standard features, along with lifted suspension.
Safety comes standard as well in all 2018 Beetles, with anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and combined curtain and side front seat airbags.