2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR recalls the original bumblebee

Alex Lloyd

Back in 1970, VW released the Beetle GSR. Limited to 3500 units, the “Yellow Black Racer” (Gelb Schwarzer Renner) looked remarkably like a bumblebee, and amassing just 50 hp, it produced about the same amount of power, too. For 2014 the bee returns, boasting the same yellow/black paint scheme, but a far more prominent powerplant.

While the yellow/black design is unique and striking, in person the yellow appears light and milky, like the designers ate a bad enchilada and threw up all over the design sheet. The vast use of matte black and large 19-inch alloy wheels do detract somewhat from the vomit-like colorings, but only in a way that reminds you how bad the yellow actually is.

Things improve somewhat when we look at the motor. The uprated version of VW’s 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four generates 210 hp (an increase of 10-hp over the current motor) and 207 lb. ft of torque, with 0-60 mph taking just 6.6 seconds, in part due to peak torque arriving at 1,700 rpm. The GSR comes standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but those interested in a less rewarding experience can opt for a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The interior continues with the yellow and black theme, along with exclusive GSR touches like a unique shift lever and a production number adorned to the leather sport wheel. Like the original Yellow Black Racer, production will be limited to just 3,500 units.

In addition to the GSR, VW announced a sporty R-Line model for the Beetle Convertible, which will join the lineup for the 2014 model year. They also revealed two new Golf GTI specials (Wolfsburg Edition and Driver’s Edition), both of which offer subtle aesthetical tweaks. Neither will be available in vomit yellow.