Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
Ahead of its official unveiling at next week's Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen has released some preliminary details and images of its Passat Performance Concept - a car that, as its name suggests, adds a little more spice to the automaker's midsize sedan formula. VW makes no mention of any production intent for this road-ready-looking sedan, simply stating that the Performance Concept is a way to "explore this practical four-door's sportier side."
It certainly doesn't look too sporty, the only visual upgrades being larger 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust, bi-xenon headlamps with VW's Advanced Front Lighting system, LED taillmaps and carbon-look mirror caps. Inside, there are carbon interior accents and two-tone leather upholstery. But no matter, the real upgrades for this mightier Passat are found below the sheetmetal.
Powering the Performance Concept is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, churning out 250 horsepower and sending its grunt to the ground via a six-speed automatic transmission. For reference, that's 80 more horsepower than the Passat's base 2.5-liter inline-five, but 20 horsepower less than the potent 3.6-liter VR6. As for other performance upgrades, Volkswagen has fitted the car with a lowered sport suspension and revamped electronic steering, which should indeed add a bit more dynamic feedback to the already nice-driving sedan.
The United Auto Workers is in hot water with some of the very workers it is trying to unionize at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant. According to The Tennessean, eight Volkswagen factory workers have filed complaints against the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the union "misled or coerced" them into formally asking for union representation.
The UAW has instituted a major push at the Chattanooga plant to represent the 2,500 hourly laborers that build the VW Passat by using what's called a card-check process. The tactic is opposed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense foundation, the group representing the workers. The card-check process demands that a company recognize a union that obtains the signatures of more than half its workforce, according to The Tennessean. This tactic is in contrast to the more traditional route, which sees employees vote on union representation.
The workers filing the complaint claim that the UAW told them the cards merely called for a secret ballot, rather than an outright demand for union representation. Workers also allege that the UAW has made it overly difficult to reclaim their signed cards, some of which were signed so long ago that they have been rendered invalid. Although the cards can force a company's hand, federal law still allows the company to ask for a secret ballot before yielding to unionized workers.
Less Flower, More Power
Pardon our political incorrectness for a moment, but the Volkswagen New Beetle was, undeniably, a "chick car." There was almost nothing that the New Beetle offered to enthusiasts (of either gender), and by the end of its run, VW had even stripped all of the exciting engines from the car's lineup. Looking to resurrect some of the excitement behind the Beetle, the third generation of the iconic car ditched the cuteness when the coupe debuted for 2012, and now the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible aims to show how much fun drivers can have without a top.
Celebrating almost six and a half decades of the Beetle convertible, Volkswagen is offering a trio of distinct special editions that celebrate three of the car's most popular decades (the '50s, '60s and '70s), but as one of the unofficial cars of the 1960s, it would almost be a crime not to test this version, right? Besides, this is also the only special edition to get the turbocharged engine. While our first drive of the 2013 Beetle Convertible was in the fuel-miser TDI variation, our two-week romp in the 2013 Beetle Convertible '60s Edition came just as peak convertible weather was kicking off down in Florida.