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VW Beetle vs Super Beetle: What’s the difference?

VW Beetle vs Super Beetle difference

A question we often get: what’s the difference between the VW Beetle vs Super Beetle? Well, with the naked eye you would certainly not see the difference. The VW Super Beetle came to the market in 1971. It is officially known as the VW 1302 from 1971 to 1972 and VW 1303 from 1973 onward but most commonly called Super Beetle.

Main differences between the VW Beetle vs Super Beetle

There are a few differences between the Beetle and the Super Beetle. Let us explain.

A Super Beetle is longer than a standard Beetle

Yes, the Super Beetle is longer than a standard Beetle. However, the difference is negligible. The difference in length is not that great, the body of the Super Beetle is only two inches longer than the standard VW Beetle.

Increased driving quality with the Super Beetle

There were some mechanical differences between the VW Beetle vs Super Beetle. The biggest mechanical difference might be the front suspension. Standard Beetles were designed to use torsion bars, while the Supermodels were upgraded to a Macpherson strut and coil spring setup. This big change increased the driving quality and improved the VW Bug’s poor turning radius. The accuracy of the steering and the smoother ride can easily be detected by taking both cars for a road test.

The Super Beetle has more storage capacity

The storage capacity was always a huge issue with the VW Beetle. Another improvement Volkswagen made with the introduction of the Super Beetle was increased storage capacity. The Super Beetle is longer than the standard Beetle, which allowed Volkswagen to store the spare tire flat in the trunk, located at the front of the car.

On a standard VW Beetle, the spare tire took up a lot of space. With the Super Bug, there is more room for luggage and groceries.

VW Beetle vs Super Beetle difference tire

The spare tire is one of the easiest ways to determine if it is a Super Beetle or not.

The Super Beetle has a curved windshield and flatter roofline since 1973

In 1973, Volkswagen made further adjustments to the Super Beetle to distinguish it from the standard model, including the introduction of a curved windshield and flatter roofline. These adjustments were quite subtle and barely visible to the naked eye.

Are you fascinated by this model? Wait until you discover the Baja Bug and the VW Bug with camper.

Frequently asked questions

When was the Super Beetle made?

The improved Super Beetles were made from 1971 until 1979. Just like the original VW Bug, there were three versions: the Sedan (made until 1975), the Sedan with sunroof and the Convertible (made from 1971 until 1979).

Green 1971 VW Super Beetle with sunroof.
Green 1971 VW Super Beetle with sunroof.

Can you easily swap parts between both models?

No, swapping parts between a Beetle and Super Beetle is not that easy. For example, you cannot trade out front fenders because they are different.

Are all Convertibles Super Beetles?

No, they aren’t. Only Convertibles that were made between 1971 and 1979 are Super Beetle Convertibles. During this period you were unable to order a Standard Beetle or Bug Convertible.

Orange 1971 VW Super Beetle Convertible.
Orange 1971 VW Super Beetle Convertible.

Does a Super Beetle have Elephant Foot taillights?

All Beetles that were made between 1973 and 1979 had those big round Elephant Foot taillights.

VW Beetle with elephant foot taillights.
VW Beetle with elephant foot taillights.

Did they have the same engine?

Yes, the original Beetle and Super Beetle had the same engine so the performance of both vehicles was the same. The engines didn’t use their own numbering system or any other unique Volkswagen parts.

Closure

The main difference between the VW Beetle and Super Beetle is the front suspension which provides a better driving experience. Furthermore, the Super Beetle is longer which results in more storage space because the spare tire is located at the front of the car. A final subtle difference is the introduction of a curved windshield and flatter roofline for the Super Beetle.

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  1. The Super Beetles came with the 1600cc engine only in North America. In the European countries the Super Beetle could be bought with the 1200, 1300, or 1600 engines. Each of these engines have a unique two letter code stamped into the engine block just under the generator or alternator mount. At this point in time all the Beetle air-cooled engines had dual intake ports. Super Beetles also got some unique equipment packages and these packages were not dependent on the engine equipment. Body color determined interior upholstery color. Cloth upholstery was always available even for US bound cars. Cloth upholstery is common in cars built for the European markets; what we call the European Commonwealth.

    As an example, in 1972 if you wanted your car to be painted with Marina Blue the available interior was either Lapis Blue corduroy with Lapis Blue vinyl trim or Black corduroy with Black vinyl trim. Headliners were white or Cream color with some perforations. The majority of the ‘perforations’ were printed on the headlining material and the pattern was similar but not identical to the perforations. The convertible (Cabriolet) tops came in different colors and had coordinating headliners. Some Super Beetles from 1973 to the end of production could be had in Porsche colors.

    I am in the United States but I have a Super Beetle built in Germany for the German home market. It is a 1972 Super Beetle built in Wolsfburg on 11Mai1972 and first titled-registered on 12Mai1972. It was barn stored from about 1975 until 2012. It was brought to the USA in 2015. When I purchased the car in 2019 the odometer read 52,830. Yes, the speedometer and odometer work and are calibrated in kilometers.

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