Volkswagen transforms the Beetle into a dune buggy
By C.C. Weiss
January 10, 2014
Over the past couple of years, Volkswagen has revealed various Beetle derivatives at major US auto shows, including an electric Beetle and the new Beetle Convertible. For this year's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), it has something a little more fun and playful in mind. The Beetle Dune is a rugged, sand-ready Beetle concept.
It would be tough to turn the iconic bug into a Rubicon Trail-ready SUV, so in injecting it with a "cool and rugged offroad look," VW turned its attention to something a little softer: sand. It lifted the Beetle 2 in (5 cm) up from the ground and added a few key reinforcements to prepare it for surfing over flat beaches and rolling dunes. And it slapped a set of skis on back as a visual reminder of this Beetle's outdoorsy soul.
While a modern-day, factory-built Bug-Buggy may seem like an out-of-the-blue idea, the Beetle Dune is actually not the first concept of its kind; Volkswagen showed the New Beetle Dune concept back in 2000. That concept was never meant to see the light of day, but the 2014 Beetle Dune is a more production-ready animal. In fact, VW mentions the idea of a production version several times in its short teaser, including saying that the concept "shows the potential for a new production version of the sportiest Beetle ever."
Another indication of potential production is the concept's powertrain equipment. Instead of some pie-in-the-sky hybrid powertrain, which you might expect from an adventure vehicle with no hopes of production, the car shares a 210-hp turbocharged TSI engine and six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission with the Beetle R-Line. Its XDS electronic differential lock, strut-type front and multilink rear suspension are also pulled off the R-Line.
Whether or not VW is serious about bringing a Dune to production remains to be seen. Hopefully, the company will give us a hint at next week's NAIAS.
Stay tuned for all the latest car and concept news as Gizmag hits the floor of NAIAS beginning Monday.