The New Beetle radio came in several different flavors just as the media electronics revolution gathered steam — today cassettes and CDs are relics while satellite radio and/or GPS OnStar communication have faded into well-deserved obscurity.
Most Beetles shipped with a standard radio package — marketed as “Premium V” up to mid-2004 and “Premium 5.5” thereafter — befitting an economy compact. This factory package was simple: a center dash radio, tweeters near the A pillar, and four woofer speakers (two at the front bottom of the doors and two just behind the B pillar). A powered roof antenna completed the system. Refer to the white highlighted components in the drawing above.
Our Turbo S model was endowed with the upgraded “Monsoon” package that added a front dash midrange speaker and an amplifier tucked into the rear side wall of the luggage area (green highlights).
Satellite radio capability (blue highlight) and the CD player (light green highlight) options frequently don’t work nowadays especially in model years before 2006. Before mid-2002 CD players were installed in the luggage area, and thereafter placed inside the center console behind the handbrake (much more convenient than opening the rear hatch in order to switch music selections).
The ute conversion requires, at a minimum, the relocation of the two rear speakers. For Monsoon packages, the rear amplifier also must be moved to the passenger cabin under one of the front seats.
The rear speaker installation was never optimal because the wall thickness of the side panel doesn’t permit good acoustic projection. Mounting the rear speakers in the lower rear wall should improve the acoustics. However, reusing the old speakers is a bit of a problem since the OEM speaker grille can’t easily be adapted to the new location.
Single DIN stereo
There are at least 50 radios that fit into the Beetle single DIN slot ranging from $30 to $1500 with a wide variety of functionality — basic AM/FM to CD/MP3/iphone integration. Any of these aftermarket products would work essentially like the old legacy system (either standard or Monsoon) with minimal impact on the dash or wiring harness.
A flip-up screen enhancement with the Jensen CMM710 also fits into the Beetle’s single DIN slot (after some minor surgery to remove part of the old bracket).
The 10″ touchscreen displays video inputs (rear backup, front view, and/or cargo view cameras) as well a smart phone navigation app.
While the original rear side panel speakers can be relocated to the rear wall, the OE outer grille was designed for embedded mounting and cannot be used on a flat surface. For this reason, it may be easier to simply replace the rear speakers altogether.
The Rockford Fosgate P16 speaker is low profile with a subdued grille design (6.9″ diameter). The 5.1″ cutout hole can be positioned on the back wall far enough towards the center to allow for clearance of the left and right interior side panels. The area behind the rear wall where the back of speaker protrudes must be waterproofed.
See dual video camera discussion.