By Kelsey Mays on July 17, 2013
Volkswagen's limited-edition 2014 Beetle GSR hardtop will start at $30,815, including destination, when it goes on sale in August. That gets you the 210-horsepower hatchback with a six-speed manual transmission; it's $31,915 with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. It also means the 2014 GSR costs $115 less than the 2013 Beetle R-Line hardtop. Volkswagen plans to build just 3,500 of the Gelb Schwarzer Renner — German for "yellow black racer" — editions worldwide, and Americans will have to hurry before Pittsburgh Steelers fans snap up the U.S. allotment. (Or not. We hear they like vintage Mercedes 300D sedans, anyway.)
Taking its cues from the Beetle Turbo and R-Line, the GSR has a black roof, trunk and side mirrors, plus black stripes along the hood. Nineteen-inch wheels wear P235/40R19 tires. The GSR's doors, fenders and bumpers are yellow; so is the trunk-lid spoiler. Inside, the leather sport seats and steering wheel have yellow stitching, and the car's number (1 to 3,500) is etched into the steering wheel. The parking-brake handle also comes wrapped in cowhide, and the shift knob has a unique GSR design. Other standard features read similarly to the well-equipped R-Line: Fender audio, Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity, a panoramic moonroof, navigation, heated seats and keyless access with push-button start.Volkswagen's turbo four-cylinder makes 210 hp and 207 pounds-feet of torque for 2014. The engine will soon replace the 200-hp, turbo four-cylinder in other Beetles, and VW says it scoots the GSR to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds with either transmission. That ranks with the 2013 Mini Cooper S (6.6 seconds with the manual), but the Mini starts nearly $7,000 less. The Fiat 500 Abarth is even less expensive, and the 2013 Ford Focus ST and 2013 Mazdaspeed3 still start under $25,000; our friends at PBS’ "MotorWeek" have hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds with both cars.
So the GSR may not be that much of a renner, so to speak. But we should see a fair number of the 3,500 global editions stateside: Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies said to expect "a substantial portion" to end up in the U.S.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey