Back in the 1970s, Volkswagen thought it was a good idea to release a special-edition model of the popular Beetle with the designation "GSR", which stands for "Gelb Schwarzener Renner".
Translated to English, GSR stands for "Yellow Black Racer.” As the name suggested, that Beetle was dressed in yellow and black though, more importantly, it was far sportier and more exclusive than most Beetles of its kind with only 3,500 units built.
Fast forward to today at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show and Volkswagen thought it was a good idea to release the modern-day version of the Beetle GSR. And true to form, they’re calling it, well, the 2014 Beetle GSR.
Suffice to say, this is a pretty big deal, not only for those old enough to remember the original Beetle GSR, but also for the young bloods out there who can be reminded just how popular and sought after this special-edition model was back in the day.
There’s a lot to like about the new Beetle GSR and for our part, we can’t get enough of it.
UPDATE 05/13/13: Volkswagen has officially been given a sticker price. Click past the jump to see how much it’s going to cost you.
Find out more about the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR after the jump
As a special edition model, the Beetle GSR’s overall design is pretty much in line with the standard model’s looks. The xenon headlights are there, but what makes it stand out is that yellow and black, two-tone color scheme that makes the Beetle stand out from the crowd. Volkswagen did a pretty impressive job on detailing the colors, beginning with a predominantly yellow body with a matte-black finishes on the hood, trunk lid, and bumpers. The trim strips underneath the side windows, the rocker panels, exterior mirror caps, and the trunk lid are all dressed in black.
Add the large rear spoiler and the set of 19-inch "Tornado" aluminum-alloy wheels shod with 235/40 tires and it makes for a really striking exterior that underscores the Beetle’s always vibrant personality while paying homage to one of the most popular Beetles of the 70s.
And as an aside, if you’re trying to imagine what Bumblebee would’ve looked like in all those Transformers movies if the producers opted to stick his Beetle guise in the cartoons, you now have your answer.
We all know that the interior of the Beetle still offers a decent amount of space. It could’ve been roomier, but you really can’t ask for anything more given the fact that it’s still a compact car.
Having said that, the Beetle GSR’s interior does come with some fresh touches, including black-trimmed leather seats that have unique yellow stitching. Incidentally, the steering wheel, leather-wrapped handbrake lever and floor mats were also designed with this look, while a badge on the steering wheel bears the number of each car.
As a model based on the Beetle Turbo with Sunroof and Sound model, the Beetle GSR will also carry a Fender audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, a push-button start, an R-Line dash pad.
All told, there’s nothing you can do about the space, but at the very least, you’ll get a cabin that’s been aesthetically spruced up to reflect its special edition designation.
The real highlight of the Beetle GSR is the fact that it pays homage to the old 1970s’ Beetle GSRs, which at that time, were considered the sportiest Beetles in the market. If Volkswagen was going to make a revival version of the special-edition model, they had to do it the right way. And by right way, we mean an engine upgrade. So they did in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 210 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque. This engine mates to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This driveline combination equates to a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph.
Coming from a list of engines that top out with a 197-horsepower, 2.0-liter TSI engine, we’d say that Volkwagen accomplished their goal of making the Beetle GSR a more powerful little bug than its standard brethren.
Should you avail of the Beetle GSR model, you’re going to have to shell out £24,900 ($38,036) for the manual transmission and £26,400 ($40,328) for the DSG transmission.
The Mini John Cooper Works GP is a bad mama jama, one that combines Mini‘s own unique design flavor with a more powerful engine and an output that’s almost identical to the Beetle GSR - the JCW GP is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbo that delivers 218 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque - but there’s something about the Beetle that really puts us in the kind of trance that’s usually followed by absurd purchases.
Both are limited-edition models too, although the Beetle GSR will have almost double the units than the 2,000-strong JCW GP. All the signs point to the JCW GP being a more ideal purchase if you really want to get the best bang for your exclusivity bucks. And really, you can’t go wrong either way. But if you ask us, we’ll go with the Beetle GSR because if for nothing else, we can cross out an entry in that bucket list of ours that call for us owning at least one Volkswagen Beetle in our lifetime.
And if we’re going to make the leap on one of ’em, we can’t go wrong with the Beetle GSR.
There’s something to be said about a special-edition model that garnered so much attention in the 70s. That being said, we’re wondering why Volkswagen took this long to bring back the Beetle GSR. Certainly, it’s a long time coming but one where the adage "better late than never" applies. The Beetle GSR is back, and we’re all excited about its return.
Yellow and black colors are sexy
Special edition model!
Worthy alternative with the MINI JCW GP
Might be pricier than what our budgets can afford
It’s going to be a battle getting one
Wolfsburg / Chicago, February 7, 2013 - Forty years ago, the sportiest version of the classic Volkswagen Beetle made its debut. Called the GSR (Gelb Schwarzer Renner or "Yellow Black Racer"), the vehicle was based on a 1303S and was instantly recognizable by its color scheme. Just 3500 units were built and they are now collectors’ items.
Today, at the Chicago Auto Show, Volkswagen of America, Inc. pays homage to that 1970s’ model with the world unveiling of the 2014 Beetle GSR. Striking in yellow and black, just like its predecessor, the GSR also debuts an uprated version of the award-winning EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder TSI® engine that generates 210 horsepower. This engine will be fitted to the Jetta GLI and Beetle Turbo during the 2013 model year, boosting their power by 10 hp.
With this new car, Volkswagen has re-interpreted the 1970s GSR for the modern era. The bodyshell of the 1973 Beetle was painted yellow, while the hood, trunklid, and bumpers were finished in matte black. The look was rounded out by black trim strips underneath the side windows and black rocker panels. Yellow and black link old and new: the body and the R- Line® bumpers on the new GSR are predominantly yellow, the hood is mainly black, and the trunklid, roof, and the exterior mirror caps are all black. The new car has yellow/black stripes with "GSR" lettering above the side skirts and a large rear spoiler to complete the look. The stance of the new car is very different, as it rides on 19-inch "Tornado" aluminum-alloy wheels shod with 235/40 tires, compared with the original GSR’s 15-inch steel wheels and 175- section tires, which were quite common even on sporty cars back then. The new GSR also features black-painted brake calipers.
Then as now, the GSR features a unique interior with a yellow/black theme, sport seats, and a leather sport steering wheel. The new GSR is a lot more sophisticated, however. The black- trimmed leather sport seats and high-grip leather steering wheel both have contrasting yellow stitching, for example. Other interior changes include an R-Line dash pad, a GSR shift lever, a leather handbrake lever, and black floormats with contrasting yellow embroidery. A badge on the steering wheel is marked with the special-edition number (1 through 3500) to emphasize the uniqueness of the car.
Forty years ago, the Beetle GSR had all of 50 horsepower, enough to give it the requisite performance for a sporty compact of the time. But the modern world demands much more under the hood. The new GSR’s 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque enable the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds and to reach an electronically governed top track speed of 130 mph. Most impressively, the engine delivers peak torque from as low as 1700 rpm, giving smooth, effortless acceleration in all the gears. The GSR is standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a dual-clutch DSG® six-speed automatic transmission will be an option.
Just like its predecessor, only 3500 GSR models will be made-and more than half of those will be sold in the U.S. Since the GSR is based on the Beetle Turbo with Sunroof and Sound model, it comes comprehensively equipped with the Fender® Premium Audio System; a panoramic sunroof; Keyless access with push-button start; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs; LED license-plate lighting; heatable front seats; Bluetooth® connectivity; a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod® cable; three-color ambient lighting; aluminum-alloy pedals; and three auxiliary instruments that include a clock with a stopwatch function and a boost gauge. The Volkswagen Beetle GSR will go on sale in the fall as a 2014 model; pricing will be announced closer to launch.