Tag - vw

Driven: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Photos courtesy of Volkswagen of America. If you read my review of Volkswagen’s 2012 Golf R, you already know I found it to be a bit of a let down. The R isn’t a bad car by any means, but it didn’t quite stack up quite the way I’d hoped it would. No small part of that is due to the other two cars I drove the same day. In fact, if the Golf R had been the only performance Volkswagen in the bunch, I probably would have thought much more highly of it. After all, just about anything can be good in a vacuum. But the R won’t exist on its own as a sporty compact in this market. Indeed, it won’t even exist as such in its own showroom. For 2012, Volkswagen will sell no fewer than four compact cars powered by some variant of their two-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder–the aforementioned Golf R, the GTI, the new MkVI GLI, and the new (lower case “n”) Beetle. Read More

Driven: Volkswagen Golf R (European Spec)

Yes, we’re a little late to the game. Most of the mainstream publications have already been invited to drive Volkswagen’s European market Golf R, but with your humble author’s 9-5 day job and our modest (read: non-existent) travel budget, well, we just didn’t have the opportunity. So when Volkswagen extended an invitation to sample their full U.S. line-up (caveat to be explained later) near their U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, well, I just couldn’t pass that up. Doing my best impression of modern journalistic largesse, I promptly reserved my space in the event (and my room at the hotel which, mind you, is only about sixty miles from my home outside Annapolis, MD).

What can I say? They don’t give out bonus points for good behavior. Might as well enjoy it.

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Lord Byron — Big Enough to Fail

Some of my regular readers have been inquiring as to my backlog of reviews. Fear not; they’ll be along shortly. I’m currently dealing with some logistical issues which have repercussions for the release of two of these pieces. Once that shakes out, we should be back to our regularly-scheduled programming. For now, enjoy some Volkswagen.

Friend and fellow SSL regular Jack once called the Volkswagen Phaeton “The best car in the world.” He should know, I suppose, as he had two of them. And it was quite good. In fact, it’s one of few cars I have ever known to be as satisfying from the back seat as it was from the driver’s. It was a wonderful piece of engineering that deserved all of the praise it received.

And now that Volkswagen appears to be back in the “on again” phase of what some of our esteemed colleagues depict as an ongoing deliberation as to the future of the Phaeton in America, I feel it’s appropriate to issue a gentle warning to our friends across the pond:

The Phaeton cannot and will not succeed in the United States.

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Promises To Keep: Adventures In Mk2 Ownership

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Every once in a great while, one comes across a writer with a truly unique voice. Cherise LaPine Grueninger is one of those writers. Unfortunately, she and I spent the first few years of our acquaintance sparring over various issues related to auto enthusiasm in general and the VW hobby in particular. I’m pleased to state that we have now resolved these issues, almost entirely through a rather craven capitulation on my part, and that as a result Cherise will now be contributing to S:S:L on a recurring basis. Please make her welcome in this, her first column, as she details her love affair with a second-generation VW Golf — jb

Story by Cherise LaPine Grueninger

I come from VWvortex, where “speed” and “sport” fall by the wayside in pursuit of “life,” and maintaining the illusion of such.

As a contributor to said site, I was dazzled by the privileges granted to the motoring media. Press cars are fabulous and I’ve driven my share, through generosity, negotiation and subterfuge. A long-termer is even better?it’s always there when it’s needed, insurance is covered by the manufacturer, and just when it’s worn out its welcome, it’s spirited away and something new comes along as a replacement. It’s no wonder that some autojournos allow the reflected glory of a freebie-laden lifestyle to plump their vanity more than a little bit.

I’m vain as well, though not beyond my means?I’ve been a slave to second-generation Jettas and Golfs for ten years, always interested in the relationship that develops between a car and its owner, a relationship that’s impossible when cars are whisked in and out so frequently they’re nearly indistinguishable. So for the past few years, I wrote most of VWvortex’s features, a wholly unglamorous role that afforded me the luxury and pleasure of exploring these dynamics in depth. And thus, I consider myself proficient at the “life” component of our shared affliction of car love?that is, owning a particular car. The type of ownership that requires maintenance and insurance. True ownership is an emotional investment as much as a financial one; a fleeting sense of pride is its sought-after payoff.
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