At the 2002 LA Auto Show Volkswagen launched the most powerful New Beetle for the American market yet, the 180bhp New Beetle Turbo S. This sport version of the New Beetle is the first Volkswagen passenger car to include the Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) system. ESP automatically uses the Turbo S’s engine power, braking, and the transmission system to help the driver stabilize the car in very demanding driving situations such as emergency maneuvers to avoid oncoming objects or other cars in the road.
While retaining the profile of the New Beetle, the Turbo S model is specially clad to evoke its more sporty nature. In the front, the New Beetle Turbo S’s wardrobe includes integrated foglights, newly designed turn signals, and an air-slicing front spoiler. In the back, a newly designed rear bumper, a subtle ’Turbo S’ badge and dual chrome exhausts cunningly hint at the 180 ponies locked in front under the Turbo S hood. It comes with a speed-activated back rear spoiler that stays hidden at the top of the rear hatch until a speed of 45 mph is reached at which time it deploys automatically.
This car’s sporty inclination is most pronounced in the Turbo S by its special leather seating surface sports seats (heated in front) with gray inserts highlighted with gray stitching. Other special Turbo S features include stainless steel pedals with grip holes. This brushed alloy look is found throughout the cabin at the shift knob, glove box handle, on three spokes of the sport steering wheel and door lock sticks. Even the famous New Beetle bud vase goes heavy metal with a brushed alloy trim that screams for something other than a colorful daisy. Completing the Turbo S’s sporty look is a leather wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel, black leather brake grip, and black leather shift boot.