These are Concept 1 convertibles (VW produced Concept 1 hardtops and convertible prototypes). Take a good look at this car, and compare it to the New Beetle below. They are very different cars. The Concept 1 had its own special chassis/powerplant. The Concept 1 is also smaller than the New Beetle. The New Beetle uses a Golf A4 platform, and uses existing modified VW engines. The Concept 1 was designed to use a special transmission/diesel engine combo so that when at idle, or when the gas pedal isn't pressed down, the engine would literally shut-down, and start back up with a special flywheel. This would have drastically improved its mpg. VW cheaped out, and didn't work on this idea any longer. The TDI diesel engine is nice, but it could be better.
This is a New Beetle: it is NOT the same as Concept 1. This is the one that is being
produced and flashed all over the media right now. If you look closely, you can see
the differences between this and Concept 1. On Concept 1, there are 2 small air ducts
in the frontal area, and no pronounced bumper: just a round shape. On the New Beetle,
there is an actual bumper that sticks out from the rest of the car, and there is a
huge grille underneath the bumper. This looks very un-beetle like. At least with the
Concept 1, the 2 grilles resembled the old horn grilles in the fenders of pre '67
Beetles. The interior of the New Beetle is quite shocking when you actually sit in it.
The dashboard is large enough to have a picnic on, and almost everything inside is
plastic. In any case, the headroom in the front seat is high enough for NBA guys, and
the instruments/vents are pretty cool looking. In fall of '98, I Volkswagen is
planning on offering a 150hp turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. Volkswagen has pondered
installing their Synchro 4wd system into the New Beetle, and it looks like it will
happen. Perhaps in another 2 years, the New Beetle will have a 4wd option, and a VR6
engine option. I doubt Volkswagen would ever offer the W12 in the New Beetle, but it
would be cool. Yes, just like every other modern car, the New Beetle will get a re-design
within 4-5 years from now. I have heard conflicting reports about the New Beetle
convertible: some say that VW shot the idea down due to high production costs, but others
have speculated that it may be here as early as 2000. We will have to wait and see.