After months of speculation and nearly eight decades of production, the Beetle is dead. Volkswagen announced the end of production after the 2019 model year, closing the books on one of the longest-running models in automotive history.
To celebrate the German icon’s heritage, a pair of special-edition Beetles will join the lineup, the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.
“The loss of the Beetle after three generations… will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., in a statement.
Although VW announced last year that it is bringing back the Microbus—in electric form and called I.D. Buzz—as soon as 2022, Woebcken said there are no plans to do the same with the Beetle. He admitted, however, that a return isn’t out of the question: “Never say never.” (We have to admit, it doesn’t take much imagination—or squinting—to see some bug-like features in the automaker’s two-door I.D. concept.)
The original Beetle—officially called the Type 1—was built from 1938–2003. The little car with the iconic shape ultimately gained worldwide popularity, selling more than 21 million units during its lifetime. Known for both its simplicity and toughness, the Beetle first arrived in the U.S. in 1949; Volkswagen of America was formed in 1955.
A modern version, known as the New Beetle, was manufactured outside the U.S. from 1997–2011 before being replaced by the sportier Beetle A5 in 2011. Sales of the third-generation version, built at Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla City, Mexico, have been on the decline. Only 15,166 were sold in the U.S. last year.
The Final Editions models will be available in coupe and convertible body styles and a variety of colors: Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, Platinum Grey, and Stonewashed Blue. Coupes are also available in Safari Uni (a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige).
In addition to chrome treatments, body-color side mirrors, and heated washer nozzles (as well as a sunroof on coupes), Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design. Final Edition SELs have 18-inch white aluminum-alloys fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tires. Interior features include keyless access, push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, stainless steel pedal caps, automatic climate control, gloss black center console, and info infotainment unit with touchscreen display, Bluetooth, USB port, voice control, and smartphone integration.
All 2019 Beetle models are powered a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Coupe prices, before destination fees, start at $23,045 for the SE and $25,995 for the SEL, while convertible pricing starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SELs.