Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Four engines are available in the Beetle. Buyers can choose from a 1.6-litre diesel with 103bhp, a 1.2-litre petrol with 102bhp, a 1.4-litre petrol with 157bhp or the range-topping 2.0-litre petrol with 197bhp. All the petrol engines use Volkswagen’s TSI technology, meaning they’re more powerful and flexible than their small displacement would initially suggest thanks to turbocharging, or a combination of turbocharging and supercharging.

A range of gearboxes is available including Volkswagen’s slick six-speed manual and two rapid-shifting DSG automatics, one of which is a heavy-duty six-speed unit, for the 2.0-litre petrol, while the other is a lighter seven-speed gearbox for the smaller engines. The DSG gearboxes are also available with wheel-mounted paddles for drivers who want more control.

The engines all deliver refined and smooth performance as well as good economy. The lively 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine turns the Beetle from a comfortable cruiser into something of a warm hatch and allows for 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds. It even gets the programmed bark from the exhaust at every gear change, like the Audi TT RS.

The previous Beetle, based on the 1997 Golf, was an easy and unexciting car to drive. The Golf platform has since moved on and consequently so has the Beetle. New suspension means that it benefits from plenty of grip, while well-weighted steering results in precise and controllable cornering – although feedback is still somewhat absent. It is quite firmly sprung, even more so with the sports suspension, so clashing with bumps can send a dull thud through the cabin while rough surfaces can cause some vibration and unsettle the car.

Buyers who pick the optional larger alloy wheels and low profile tyres will find that the ride becomes even stiffer – which isn’t ideal for poor quality roads. 1.4-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TSI versions get Volkswagen’s XDS electronic differential lock which is designed to improve cornering and aid traction, preventing wheelspin. Even with the 2.0-litre engine the power is well controlled and traction only becomes an issue on wet or rough surfaces.