Puebla, Mexico, where Volkswagen has built cars since 1965, has been a home to the VW Beetle for more than 50 years. Long after production of the original Beetle ended in Germany in 1974, the car continued to be built in Puebla and sold in Mexico—until 2003. When reborn as the New Beetle for 1998, the model was built exclusively in Puebla and exported around the world (mostly to the United States) before finally going out of production in 2010.
And, now that the current Beetle has entered its last model year, Volkswagen is again doing a Final Edition, available as both coupe and convertible, and it consists of special trim, equipment, and colors but is mechanically unchanged from the regular car.
Volkswagen invited us to drive the Final Edition Beetle on the car’s home turf, during Mexico’s Día de los Muertos celebration. The combination was novel but also fitting, given the degree to which the Beetle has become a part of Mexican culture, including the original’s longtime use as taxicabs in Mexico City. The first-generation, air-cooled Beetle is still a common sight in Mexico, where it’s colloquially called the Vocho.
Our drive was confined to the new Final Edition, which comes in both hardtop and convertible body styles. Like all Beetles, it’s powered by a 174-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, driving its front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
The good news is that the Beetle’s funereal finery doesn’t cost a lot. In fact, it comes at a discount. The standard Beetle coupe and convertible are available in S and SE trim levels; the Final Edition SE costs $1100 less than the regular SE convertible and $1340 less than the SE coupe.
The latest Beetle traded less on nostalgia than did its New Beetle predecessor, but style still has played no small part for those choosing a Beetle over its more practical—and excellent—showroom sibling, the Golf. So it’s not hard to imagine that same audience falling for the Final Edition, if only for its nicer interior. They’ll have until next summer to grab one, at which point the Beetle is, again, muerto. At least until its possible return in all-electric form on Volkswagen’s new EV platform. Because the Beetle, it seems, never stays dead for long.