Volkswagen's sporty Beetle R Concept


September 13, 2011

Volkswagen is set to debut the Beetle R, a high-performance design study of its existing Beetle 2.0 TSI

Volkswagen is set to debut the Beetle R, a high-performance design study of its existing Beetle 2.0 TSI

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If you're one of the people who bemoan how Volkswagen's "new" Beetle has strayed from the original's simple, utilitarian nature ... well, you might want to stop reading now. The German automaker is debuting its high-performance Beetle R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. Currently still a design study, it was created at the Volkswagen R GmbH facility, which in the past was the birthplace of R versions of the Golf and Scirocco. The Beetle R is based on the existing turbocharged Beetle 2.0 TSI and sports some unique design features.

Probably the most unique feature of the Beetle R is its redesigned front and rear bumpers, which have been widened by 30 millimeters. The front bumper has three air intakes, the middle of which supplies oxygen to the engine, while the outer two serve to cool the brakes. The rear bumper features two air exhaust vents, along with a diffuser.

In order to keep the engine cool (along with adding to the car's looks), two ventilation slots are located on either side of the hood. The rear spoiler, meanwhile, is larger than those on production models. Also visible in the back are dual sets of chrome tailpipes. Protruding sills run along the car's two sides.

The Beetle R rolls on 20-inch Talladega alloy wheels, through which the blue R-design brake calipers can be spotted.

Inside, the driver and passenger both sit in black leather-upholstered motorsport shell seats. The instrument layout, which includes a middle-mounted tachometer, is another part of the R-specific interior.

Like the 2.0 TSI, the R has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, and a six-speed DSG transmission. There are no power figures available for the concept car, but VW says it could demonstrate a performance potential similar to that of the Golf R (199 kW / 270 PS).

So, will anyone ever be able to buy a Beetle R of their own? Hard to say, although it's likely that at least a few of its features will find their way into production models.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

R32 Beetle would be more fun

Mike Donovan

Drop in the five cylinder turbo from the TT also, I5 engines sound TITS I know I have two, err three a 350hp I5 in an 86 4000CSQ snow car modded by 034-EFI an almost stock 1983 URQ Garage Queen and an 89 Audi Avant daily driver, I love I5s

Bill Bennett

What would rock would be a GDI version. VW had production Golf\'s that ran the normal TDI 2.0L at something like 245hp and still got 42mpg. As much as I would love an R32, fuel is never going to get cheaper again.


A new beetle true to its roots needn\'t be \'simple & utilitarian\', it just needs to have the right sort of engine in the correct end of the car. If you want to see what a modern bug can be like, google \'the bugster\' - 1970s beetle with porsche boxter engine, brakes and running gear. Modern porsche 911/cayman/boxter are still the closest thing you can get to ferdinand porsche\'s basic concept; but while porsche have stayed more or less true to the flat 4 or flat 6 mid-rear engined cars, with the notable exceptions of cayenne, panamera and 924 etc, volkswagen has long since strayed from that path, and now just re-bodies the golf and calls it a beetle.


Looks like it\'s morphing into a 911.


If it was only RWD.... but damn does it look good. Understandably the earlier design came out of some re-live the hippy days, but this thing looks mucho-macho with only some basic proportion changes.

It looks better than the coxter, too bad it doesn\'t share the platform.

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