Of all the 1998-2010 New Beetles, the two that are most appropriate for a ute transformation are either the Turbo S with the 1.8 turbocharged I4 engine, or any 2006-10 model since they all share the 2.5 I5 engine. The table below compares the Turbo S with the 2006-10 Base and 2010 Final Edition models.
|Description||Turbo S||Base||Final Edition|
|Engine||1.8L I-4||2.5L I-5||2.5L I-5|
|Power||180HP @ 5500 rpm||150HP @ 5000 rpm||150HP @ 5000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual 02M FML||5-spd manual, 6-spd auto||6-speed automatic|
|Wheels||17”silver aluminum||16” Mali alloy||17” Sarasota alloy|
|Sound||8 Monsoon speakers, amp||10 speakers||10 speakers|
|Seats||sport type, leather||bucket, leatherette||bucket, leatherette|
The Turbo S features leather two-tone black/grey sport front seats.
The 2010 models vary in color and finish ranging from the base up to higher trims like the Final Edition.
The Turbo S front includes fog light inserts with the 1998-05 curved fender/bumper profile and elongated rounded rectangular bottom skirt cutout. The 2010 Final Edition incorporates the sharp fender/bumper crease and front lighting common to all of the post-2005 models.
All 1998-2005 New Beetles shares the following potential failures, some that have been the subject of official recalls:
- window regulators
- brake light switch
- catalytic converter
- coolant temperature sensor
- suspension bushings
1.8 engine specific issues
The turbocharged 1.8 engine, while it has become a high performance aftermarket favorite, suffers from a few known vulnerabilities.
Engine sludge buildup
This turbo engine runs hot and tends to “coke” the oil into a sludge. In addition, the K03S turbocharger radiates significant heat when the engine is shut down and can cook the oil as it sits without circulation.
Frequent (every 5,000 miles) oil changes with the correct synthetic (VW specification 507.00 or 504.77 like Mobil 1 ESP Formula 5W-30) is vital and, given the very high mileage in these 18-to-16 year old vehicles, the probability of poor maintenance somewhere along the line is high.
Timing belt, water pump
High mileage and age take their toll on belts and water pumps. The plastic impeller can fail leading to a domino effect of related issues. A prudent step, if it has not already been done, is to replace the timing belt, tensioners/pulleys, water pump, and related parts at the 80,000-100,000 interval. The parts themselves are inexpensive, but installation requires a significant disassembly/assembly effort. Cars over 100,000 that have not had the timing belt/pump replaced pose high failure risks.
Post-2008, the New Beetle is almost defect free (especially compared to the Turbo S). The most significant issue is a fastening clamp on a hydraulic hose of the power steering system that may be located in an improper position which could cause chafing against an under-hood fuel supply line. If chafing occurs, there is the potential for a fuel leak to develop. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire.