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This Really Happened: VW Introduces iBeetle at Shanghai Auto Show

Sections: Infotainment

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Volkswagen iBeetle interior docking station

Volkswagen’s iBeetle is “the first model line from the Volkswagen Group in which the iPhone will become an integrated component,” according to the automaker. (Photo courtesy Volkswagen of America.)

I’ve often heard the stereotype that VW owners are disproportionately iPhone owners. Apparently, so has Volkswagen, who are showcasing the iBeetle at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Featuring Volkswagen’s newly developed iPhone docking station and a special iPhone application, the car bowed in Shanghai as “the first model line from the Volkswagen Group in which the iPhone will become an integrated component,” according to a Volkswagen press release.

The iBeetle will come in standard Coupe and topless Convertible flavors and will launch in early 2014, the release said. The docking station will be centrally located on the dashboard, allowing the iPhone to be used for navigation, hands-free calling, music streaming, and more. In addition to the dock the iBeetle will feature other customized touches, including 18-inch “Disc” alloy wheels painted in “Galvano Grey” with chrome wheel covers, door mirror housings and side trim panels above the sill in “Galvano Grey”, black door sill plates with the “iBeetle” signature, “iBeetle” chrome badges on the front fenders and a “Chrome pack” that will include chrome trim strips on the sides of the car, the release said. VW said the iBeetle’s color options are “a nod to the iPhone’s color scheme,” and include “Candy White,” “Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect,” “Black Monochrome,” “Deep Black Pearl Effect,” “Platinum Grey,” or “Reflex Silver.”

Volkswagen iBeetle exterior press photo

The iBeetle will be painted in a number of colors based on the iPhone’s color scheme, VW says. (Photo courtesy Volkswagen of America.)

On the software end, the Beetle App can connect the iPhone to the Beetle via either the docking station or wirelessly. The release said the app offers the following functions:

  • Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.
  • Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.
  • Trainer: can be used to compare driving times, distances, and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here, too, tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook—such as which route is faster to the office.
  • Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.
  • Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.
  • Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.
  • Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

The iBeetle, the Beetle App, and the integrated docking station are making their world debut at the Shanghai Auto Show now and will be on display until Monday, April 29, VW said.

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