Volkswagen finally squashes the Beetle with 2019 Final Edition

The Volkswagen Beetle is bowing out for the 2019 model year with a commemorative Final Edition model. Although the current version has nothing in common with the original, rear-engine Beetle bar a name and some styling cues, this will mark the first time in roughly seven decades that Volkswagen hasn’t had a Beetle in its lineup.

In a statement, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken confirmed that there are no plans to replace the Beetle when production ends next year. However, he noted that the impending launch of the I.D. Buzz — an electric car inspired by the classic VW Microbus — means that there is always a chance that the Beetle will return, but not anytime soon.

The Final Edition will be available in both coupe and convertible body styles, and in SE or SEL trim levels. Final Edition models are distinguished by special paint colors — Safari Uni (think beige) or Stonewashed Blue — inspired by the Última Edición (last edition) versions of the original Beetle from 2003. VW is also offering Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Gray as alternative options.

Other changes include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels for the SE trim level, and 18-inch alloy wheels with a multicolor design meant to reference the Última Edición’s combination of steel wheels, hubcaps, and whitewall tires. Final Editions get model-specific upholstery as well — cloth and leatherette with diamond pleats for the SE, real leather for the SEL.

Final Editions get the same powertrain as other Beetle models, meaning a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

With the Final Edition, the Beetle seems to be going out with a whimper, rather than a bang. The original Beetle was an icon, and the first of the modern Beetles (launched as the New Beetle in 1997) helped start the retro-styling craze. The current-generation Beetle is a much better car than its 1997-era predecessor, but the novelty of a car that looks like a Beetle but is in reality a repackaged front-wheel drive economy car seems to have worn off. Even building a fire-breathing rallycross version couldn’t get people to care about the current-generation Beetle.

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition starts at $23,940 for an SE coupe; the convertible starts at $28,190. Both prices are actually a bit lower than non-Final Edition SE models. There is no standard SEL model, but the Final Edition SEL starts at $26,890 for the coupe, and $30,890 for the convertible. All prices include a mandatory $895 destination charge.

Cars

This hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Silverado looks like it’s straight out of Halo

General Motors' defense division has released video footage of a rugged, Halo-like truck called Silverado ZH2. The pickup is powered by the next evolution of GM's hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

Camaro vs. Mustang: Differences and similarities between two premier pony cars

The Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang are two of America's favorite sports cars. In this comparison piece, we highlight the main differences between the two machines when it comes to their design and performance, among other factors.
Cars

Honda HR-V vs. Honda CR-V: The differences explained

The Honda HR-V and CR-V may overlap in some regard, but they're not the same vehicle. In this comparison, we highlight the design, technology, performance, and fuel economy unique to each ride.
Cars

This rusty '65 Volkswagen Bug turns heads with a whopping 40 horsepower

This Volkswagen Beetle may still look like a barn find, but it's actually an award-winning restoration project. The paint, or lack thereof, will continue to patina, but under the hood and inside, it's a reliable daily driver.
Mobile

Google Maps tests feature that will help drivers avoid crashes, speed traps

Google Maps is testing a feature that lets drivers report crashes and speed traps so the app can plan efficient routes for others in the area, or warn of upcoming hazards. Waze, which Google owns, already offers such a feature.
Cars

Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm as chair, Elon Musk steps down

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk agreed to step down from his role as chairman as part of a settlement deal with the SEC. Tesla has named a 55-year-old Australian businesswoman named Robyn Denholm as his successor.
Cars

Ares turns the Tesla Model S into a two-door roadster with Italian flair

Italian coachbuilder Ares has done what Tesla won't. It's taking a Model S, chopping off the roof, and sending the rear doors back to the parts bin to create a roadster that's ready for the French Riviera.
Cars

Ford buys scooter-sharing service Spin as it looks to expand beyond cars

Ford has acquired San Francisco-based scooter-sharing company Spin. The Blue Oval believes mobility services like scooter sharing can complement its existing car business going forward.
Cars

Bosch, Daimler team up to deploy autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Classes in San Jose

In 1986, when Bosch and Daimler joined an autonomous car research project, the technology seemed overly futuristic. Now, the partners are aiming to make a production self-driving car by the early 2020s.
Cars

Thinking of driving for Uber? These cars are safe, comfy, and fuel-efficient

Uber is a viable means for making money on the side, but you won't earn much if all of your profits are going direct toward fuel and maintenance. Thankfully, these five cars are a perfect fit for those looking to shuttle passengers from…
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best 'Top Gear' episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, 'Top Gear' has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 25 seasons.
Cars

Roborace wants human drivers and machines to work together

Roborace believes the future of racing is autonomous, but it's keeping human drivers in the picture for now. For its first race season, Roborace will use a car called DevBot 2.0 that can be driven by humans or machines.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!