Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
You may remember the name Franz-Josef Paefgen. Until recently, the German engineer and executive was head of both Bentley and Bugatti. Before that he was chief executive of Audi, after working for several years at Ford. He technically "retired" earlier this year, but like the cars he helped create, an executive like Paefgen could never really retire. So it should come as little surprise that the Volkswagen Group has named Dr. Paefgen head of its Classic program.
In his new capacity, Paefgen will oversee the historic automobile activities of the entire VW Group, including those of Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Lamborghini, and of course Bentley and Bugatti. It strikes us as a suitable semi-retirement for the man responsible in no small part for the Bugatti Veyron and Bentley Mulsanne, to name just two, and who was decorated in 2006 by the ACO as the "Spirit of Le Mans" for his contribution to endurance racing. Read the official announcement after the break.
The all-new seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf hasn't even launched here in the United States, but over in Geneva, we're already getting our first glimpse at the hotter GTI hatchback. The fancy new Mk VII Golf is already off to a healthy start with positive reviews in Europe, and we have no doubt that this next GTI will work hard to regain its title as king of the hot hatches.
The big news for this generation of GTI is that for the first time ever, Volkswagen is actually offering two different power grades for the model, both relying on the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. Standard cars pack 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, but an optional performance pack ups the horsepower number to 230. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes 6.5 seconds (6.4 with the performance pack) and top speed is quoted at 153 mph (or 155 with the performance kit). Volkswagen will continue to offer the GTI with both six-speed manual and dual-clutch transmissions.
On the visual front, the sub-3,000-pound GTI adds the usual bit of hot hatch aggression over the standard Golf, and those changes carry over to the interior with a flat-bottomed wheel and, of course, plaid seats. She's certainly a looker, and while some of us do find the new Golf's design to be a bit staid and evolutionary, the enhancements for the GTI indeed tug on our enthusiast heart strings.
There have been many great car commercials over the years, but is it possible to define the best? Well, Ad Week recently took a crack at it by rating the top commercials of the year by looking at their view counts on YouTube, but Auto Express took a more democratic approach by putting the decision to a vote. Just after Thanksgiving, Auto Express came up with a list of the 20 popular commercials, and it tasked its readers with choosing the winner for the best car ad of all time. The winner? Honda's 2003 commercial for its then-new European Accord titled "The Cog."
While the ad never aired in the US, most car people have surely seen the impressive Rube Goldberg-style spot. In fact, the only commercial on this list that we saw on US television was the Volkswagen ad "The Force," but many of the others have become viral videos, including transforming and dancing Citroën C4. Of the 19 other commercials that vied for the title of best ad of all time, only the Ford Puma "Steve McQueen" commercial gave Honda a run for its advertising money.
Scroll down to watch Auto Express' top five commercial in order and to check out a press release, then let us know some of your favorite car commercials in Comments.