According to cargurus, there were some major differences between the New Beetle and earlier models, though, starting with the engine, which was now located in the front instead of the back. The New Beetle was also longer, more powerful, and safer than the original. In fact, it received high marks from the U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
Power was provided by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 115-hp gas engine or a 1.9-liter, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine (called a TDI, or Turbo Direct Injection) that generated 90 hp and got an impressive 48 mpg on the highway. Available transmissions were either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Download 1998 Vw Beetle Owners Manual