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Volkswagen transforms the Beetle into a dune buggy

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January 10, 2014

First sketch of the 2014 Beetle Dune concept

First sketch of the 2014 Beetle Dune concept

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.

Source: Volkswagen

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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13 Comments

IIRC, this isn't the first Dune Beetle but it is the coolest, IMO. I wonder if someone - assuming it reaches production - will adapt it to make a Baja Bug like the ones in the past? It looks like it is part way there in this design.

BigGoofyGuy
10th January, 2014 @ 05:38 am PST

Apparently suspension is not something they design for.

I never understood the notion of automotive designers putting low-profile tires, huge wheels, and no-suspension on every darn concept sketch they do.

for a dune buggy I would want:

large profile tires.

small rims.

lots of suspension.

Milton
10th January, 2014 @ 10:13 am PST

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the new beetles front wheel drive? How would that work in a dune buggy?

sk8dad
10th January, 2014 @ 01:59 pm PST

he is right you know, it is all for the eye and not for the dune

Graham Winks HomeMaint
10th January, 2014 @ 03:22 pm PST

I am quite excited to see how it would look. The sketch just gives an idea. And I' m sure that it would look more like a suv than on the sketch. Big wheels make the sketch look better. Apparently the car would be 2 inches higher than a beetle. Wich is not that bad . But I wish one day they make one even higher. It's probably all a question about market and investment to adapt the wheelbase. With the new system of modular wheelbase, I can imagine to put proper 4wd suspension, that would be great, it's gonna come one day I guess, we'll see.

romain
12th January, 2014 @ 05:43 am PST

This looks like a fun car

Darren Chapeskie
13th January, 2014 @ 05:26 am PST

I''m probably not the first to wonder how hard it would be to change the "E" in DUNE to a "G". A 3000 lb. front wheel drive probably isn't going to be very nimble on the sand. Hopefully, there is a built in roll bar. Don't need those skis in the sand but snow boards are popular.

Bob
13th January, 2014 @ 07:35 am PST

@sk8dad They'd probably import some Audi technology and make it AWD.

Not sure how different the new Beetle's floorpan differentiates that much from say, an Audi TT, but with some meatier tires, it should be pretty cool.

ANBU
13th January, 2014 @ 08:17 am PST

The Dune is a pure poser.

Bruce H. Anderson
13th January, 2014 @ 08:45 am PST

The Volkswagon Dune is doomed. Who the heck would pay the price to put this thing in the sand. Sand vehicles take a lot of punishment and therefore are normally owner built with cost very much in mind. Rebuilding a 1960 Beetle motor or transmission used to be quite cheap and easy. Rebuilding a modern VW engine or transmission would bankrupt most people. the wheels are wrong. The paint is wrong as well in that tube frames with a bit of Rustoleum are more like real world and chrome would be at a minimum as well. All in all it is a lousy design and not worth building.

Jim Sadler
13th January, 2014 @ 09:20 am PST

Ha! This will be a lot of fun! I'll sit on the beach with my Jeep just waiting to tow these Beetle suckers back to the pavement again...for $20 each, of course!

Ed
13th January, 2014 @ 11:03 am PST

wider tires, more suspension

Walter Paul Komarnicki
13th January, 2014 @ 02:58 pm PST

I would like to see a "monster beetle". Basically a normal beetle enlarged to seat larger people, more space and of course, more horsepower!

Michael Esh
14th January, 2014 @ 07:09 am PST
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