The New Beetle is one of the safest cars in the subcompact class. This is a stark contrast from the original, which was known to be a bit of a death trap -- especially in front collisions, which tend to be the most violent.
There are several varieties of engines for the New Beetle. Starting out with an I4 base, the engines range up to a 225 horsepower VR6. Other options include a Turbo S I4, and I5, and a turbodiesel TDI I4. Transmission options depend on the trim line, and range from a 4 speed automatic to a 6 speed manual or automatic.
There is a very rare performance model of the New Beetle called the New Beetle RSi. Only a few hundred of them were made from 2001 until 2003, and they come with a $58,000 price tag. The engine on that car is the 225 horsepower V6, and it comes standard with all wheel drive. Dual pipe exhaust and a Porsche tuned suspension are also standard on this car. They have not sold very well, perhaps due to the fact that they are basically just New Beetles with about $30,000 worth of extra stuff from a variety of manufacturers. It's something that any car nut could do in their garage, and it really doesn't show any special creativity from Volkswagen's engineers.
You can find plenty of these New Beetles on the used car market. The first place to go is eBay, where you'll always find a dozen or so listings (hint: find the one closest to your current location before you start comparing prices). There are also lots of New Beetle parts on there, or at least parts that will fit on this car.