Volkswagen has launched two high-performance versions of its new Beetle, the 1.8T and V5.

With the same 150 horsepower 1.8-litre turbocharged engine found in the Golf GTI 1.8T, Bora, Passat and Sharan, the 1.8T costs from £15,445 on the road. The V5 is powered by the same engine as the Golf, Bora and Passat, relaunched last year with 20 valves and 170 horsepower. It costs £16,995.

In the 1.8T, five valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts and a relatively small turbocharger make for an impressive set of performance figures combined with similarly impressive economy.

A top speed of 126mph and 0-62mph time of nine seconds (for the manual version) make this a quick car. Yet a combined fuel consumption figure of 34.4mpg mean it is environmentally and pocket-friendly too.

The 1.8T is available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. Despite its extra performance, the new Beetle 1.8T is not easily distinguished from its 2.0-litre sibling which has become a familiar sight on our roads - standard fog lights are the only external difference.

However, at high road speeds, a roof spoiler appears above the rear window, cutting rear lift and adding stability.

Inside, the 1.8T boasts a leather steering wheel, gearknob, gaiter and handbrake grip. Anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, electronic stability programme, remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser, electric front windows and mirrors, driver and passenger seat height adjustment, reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning and 16in alloy wheels are all standard.

The range-topping V5 boasts even more power. Modification of Volkswagen's V5 engine from two to four-valves technology last year resulted in a power increase of 20 horsepower to 170. The V5 produces 170 horsepower at 6200rpm.

This model combines a top speed of 131mph and 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds with economy (combined cycle) of 31.7mpg and 214g/km of CO2.

From the outside, the V5 looks similar to the 1.8T with the addition of 17in seven-spoke Daytona alloy wheels. Inside, a boot- mounted six-disc CD autochanger completes the equipment.

Also revealed is an automatic version of the 1.6 102 horsepower Beetle. Priced at £13,235 on the road, it costs £855 more than its manual counterpart. A range of factory-fitted options is also available on all new models.